Schalke defender Joel Matip will join Liverpool at the end of the season, the German club have announced.
Matip was a target for Jurgen Klopp in January and reports suggested a deal had been lined up, but Schalke were unwilling to let him go until his contract expired.
The 24-year-old, who is a product of the Bochum academy, has come through the ranks at Schalke and can play as a central defender and full-back as well as in midfield.
He made his professional debut aged 18 for Schalke’s second team and made his first-team debut a month later in November 2009 when he grabbed headlines by scoring an equaliser against Bayern Munich.
Matip has made 26 appearances for Schalke this term, scoring four goals.
“At the end all Schalke efforts were in vain, to convince the 24-year-olds from a stay at the club,” general manager Horst Heldt said. “We have since May last year had many intensive discussions, both with Joel and his advisor. It was soon clear that factors would be decisive for Joel’s decision we ultimately could not influence.”
The player also made a short statement:
“I always said that I would leave Schalke ofor only one reason: To go somewhere new,” Matip said. Therefore, joining another Bundesliga club never came into consideration. Although my decision is definitely not easy, I am convinced that now is the right time to take this step.”