Liverpool confirm deal to sign Schalke defender Matip

Joel Matip: Signed for Liverpool

Joel Matip: Signed for Liverpool

Liverpool have announced they have reached an agreement for Schalke defender Joel Matip to join them at the end of the season.

Matip will move on a free transfer when his current contract with the Bundesliga side expires this summer.

Liverpool did not mention in their announcement on Monday details of the contract he will be on at Anfield, but reports have suggested it is to be a four-year deal.

In a statement on their official website earlier in the day, Schalke confirmed their efforts to convince the 24-year-old to stay with them had been in vain, with Matip Liverpool-bound.

Director of sport Horst Heldt said: “We’ve had plenty of talks with Joel and his agent since May.

“It soon became clear that Joel’s mind would ultimately be made up by factors which we could not influence.”

The German-born player, who can operate as a midfielder as well as at centre-back and has 27 Cameroon caps, came through Schalke’s youth set-up.

He made his Bundesliga debut at the age of 18, scoring in a 1-1 draw with Bayern Munich in November 2009, and has over 200 senior club appearances to his name.

He was part of the team which won the DFB-Pokal in 2011 and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League the same year.

Matip said: “I always said that I would only leave Schalke for one reason, and that would be to get to know something completely new. That is why a never even considered a move within the Bundesliga.

“Even if it certainly wasn’t an easy decision, I’m convinced that now is the right time for me to take this step.”

He added: “Schalke will remain an extended family for me. I was always proud to play for this great club.

“I will do everything in the months to come to get the maximum out of this season. I owe that to the fans and to my team-mates.”

Liverpool’s interest in Matip has been known since January and the move will see him follow Serbian midfielder Marko Grujic – Jurgen Klopp’s first signing as Reds manager – in joining the Merseyside outfit.

Grujic, recruited in early January for £5.1million on a four-year contract, immediately returned to former club Red Star Belgrade on loan for the remainder of the season and will rejoin Liverpool this summer.