Premier League • England

Klopp to kick out declining Liverpool defender ‘prematurely’ as cross-city transfer rivalry is initiated

Liverpool defenders Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip

Liverpool are ready to get rid of Joel Matip this summer and his agent has already identified two potential destinations for him, according to a report.

Matip will still have a year remaining on his contract with Liverpool by the summer, but there have been a few claims about them considering selling him. He is no longer a regular starter for Jurgen Klopp’s team, so might have reached the end of his Anfield career.

According to a report from Inter Live, his next destination could be in Serie A. Indeed, it is claimed that Inter and AC Milan have both been offered Matip’s services by his agent.

Inter will be looking for a replacement for Milan Skriniar this summer as he enters free agency. Meanwhile, their cross-city rivals could be searching for a long-term successor to Simon Kjaer.

Matip might become a solution for either of them after Liverpool decided to “prematurely” end his spell with the club, in the report‘s words.

The 31-year-old has been with Liverpool since 2016, making 185 appearances in that time. Injuries have held him back at various points of his career, which has sometimes limited his involvement.

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This season, Klopp has used him on 19 occasions. Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez all appear to be above Matip in the centre-back hierarchy.

Therefore, Liverpool might not have much use for Matip anymore, which could lead to a summer sale. Their asking price is not yet clear, but it shouldn’t be too high given his age and contract status. Previous reports have suggested somewhere between £10m and £15m as being a reasonable valuation.

AC Milan show stronger interest in Liverpool outcast Matip

There is a feeling that AC Milan might be slightly more receptive to the idea of signing Matip than Inter, who are working on renewals for Stefan de Vrij, Alessandro Bastoni and Danilo D’Ambrosio, as well as an extension of Francesco Acerbi’s loan from Lazio.

AC Milan’s need is seemingly less urgent, since Kjaer is under contract until 2024 and Fikayo Tomori, Pierre Kalulu, Malick Thiaw and Matteo Gabbia are stocked up for the long term.

But whereas Inter have plenty of senior options, some more experience at the back might be useful for Stefano Pioli’s side. Therefore, a player of Champions League calibre like Matip may well appeal to them.

His only previous club before Liverpool was Schalke in his country of birth, Germany. Thus, playing for a team in Italy would be a brand new challenge for Matip.

He visited San Siro twice with Liverpool in the Champions League last season, but was an unused substitute against both Inter and Milan. However, he did complete 90 minutes against each of them at Anfield.

Next season, he might be lining up for one of them instead. Only time will tell precisely what his future holds.

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