4 Jan 2016

Transfer Update: Top 'sources' confirm Liverpool want to sign 'excellent' €14m powerhouse. Replace Sakho?

Last months, Liverpool were linked with a move for Schalke defender Joel Matip, and new reports today suggest that Jurgen Klopp is now actively pursuing a deal for Cameroon international.

In December, the Daily Mail claimed that Liverpool 'expressed an interest' in Matip, and according to Sky Sports today:

"Liverpool are interested in signing Joel Matip in the January transfer window, according to Sky sources".
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Sky Sports is one of the most credible sources for transfer rumours, so if they're reporting this, I'm inclined to believe it.

Schalke boss André Breitenreiter is determined to keep €14m-rated Matip at the club, however, and when asked recently about a possible transfer, he told ESPN:

"I can rule out a winter departure [for Matip]. I am wishing for more competition between the players. We need that to maximise their performances."

Some info about Matip, recently hailed as 'excellent' by Schalke Chief Horst Heldt:

* Current contract expires in May 2016, which means 6'4 Matip is free in January to sign a pre-contract agreement with another club.

* Right-sided centre-back (75% of games) who can also play as a defensive midfielder (20% of games), or a right-back (5% of games).

* 34 goals/assists in 239 games for Schalke, which is excellent for a defender. As a comparison: Skrtel has 24 goals/assists in 314 games for Liverpool.

* 26 apps for the Cameroon national team, including appearances in the last two World Cup tournaments (Scored against Brazil in last year's World Cup).

Matip appears to have the pedigree, and at the age of 24, he's entering the prime years of his career. Additionally, he is versatile (always a bonus for a defender), and at 6'4, he'll bring extra height and physical strength to the team.

As the West Ham game showed yet again, Liverpool's defence of high balls into the box needs to improve, and in that regard, Sami Hyppia - who, amongst other things, was imperious in the air - has still not been adequately replaced.

Author: Jaimie K



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