13 Jan 2016

Transfer Agreed: Liverpool to sign 'excellent' €14m powerhouse who idolises Zidane. Done deal in July?

Last week, Sky Sports 'source' claimed that Liverpool were close to signing €14m-rated Schalke centre-half Joel Matip, and new reports today claim the Cameroon international is the club's second defensive signing of the week.

According to The Mirror today:

"A deal has been agreed in principle [with] Joel Matip [who] is set to join Liverpool on a free transfer...at the end of the season. Jurgen Klopp has been an admirer since his time as Borussia Dortmund boss".

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).

* Cites Zinedine Zidane as a role model: "I used to enjoy watching Zinedine Zidane. Admittedly I've never quite had his technically ability, which is why I'm playing further back on the pitch".

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.

That said, Matip's recent injury history is a concern:

* 6 separate injuries during the 2014-15 season (84 days on the sidelines/15 games missed), including a fractured foot, thigh muscle rupture, and an adductor tear.

Up to that point, Matip had been injury free, so hopefully, this won't be the start of a period of regular, niggling issues.

Poor Steven Caulker; signed for Liverpool on Tuesday, and 24 hours later, he's already been replaced ;-)

Author: Jaimie K


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