Joel Matip to Liverpool: Schalke defender 'agrees to join Reds on a free transfer' at the end of the season

The Cameroon defender’s contract at the Veltins Arena runs out this summer

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The Independent Football

Liverpool will sign Schalke defender Joel Matip on a free transfer when his contract runs out at the end of the season, according to reports in the Daily Mirror.

Negotiations between Matip and his club have hit a stumbling block despite Schalke’s desire to keep him, and now the Merseysiders have agreed a deal in principle to bring the centre-back to the Premier League.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has been an admirer of the Cameroon international since his time as manager of Schalke’s Bundasliga rivals Borussia Dortmund, and he is keen to strengthen an area of his squad that has been decimated by injuries this season.

Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho have all spent time out on the treatment table recently meaning that Klopp has had to rely on 34-year-old Kolo Toure while recalling Tiago Ilori from his loan spell at Aston Villa and bringing in QPR’s Steven Caulker until the end of the season.

The Reds’ problems at the back remained on show as they conceded three times in the home draw with Arsenal on Wednesday, and Klopp will hope that the 6’4” frame of Matip will bring a dominant presence to his defence for the next campaign.

Capped on 27 occasions for this country, Matip, who can also play in defensive midfield, has been a regular part of the Schalke backline for the past six seasons since making he debut as a teenager.

The 24-year-old has been at Schalke since he joined as a youngster in 2000, and he has gone on to make more than 200 appearances for the Gelsenkirchen club.