Liverpool make their first signing for next season

Joel Matip joins from Schalke

Schalke defender Joel Matip
High flyer The Cameroonian will be back in the Premier League next year Image Photo Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp has made Joel Matip of Schalke his first signing for 2016-17 after the German club announced the defender is joining Liverpool at the end of this season.

Klopp has moved fast to secure the signing of the highly-rated 24-year-old on a free transfer. Schalke manager Horst Heldt confirmed to the club’s website that the centre-half is looking for a new challenge.

Heldt explained: “Joel’s decision is nothing against Schalke He wants to try something new.

“We have tried since last May to convince Joel to stay, but it soon became clear that other factors were decisive.”

Matip will arrive at Anfield on a free when his current contract with the Bundesliga side expires this summer.  A four-year deal at Anfield is likely, according to reports.

Matip told Schalke’s website: “I have always said that I would only leave Schalke to try something new and moving to another Bundesliga club was never an option.

“Although my decision was not easy, I am convinced that now is the right time to take this step. Schalke 04 will remain special to me. I was always proud to play for this great club and I will do everything possible in the coming months to get the most out of this season.”

The German-born Cameroon international, who can also operate as a midfielder, has 27 international caps. He came through Schalke’s youth set-up.

Matip made his Bundesliga debut at 18, playing as a midfielder and scoring in a 1-1 draw against Bayern Munich in November 2009.

Klopp registered his interest with Matip a month ago, when it became obvious that Liverpool had competition from two unnamed French clubs.

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Loaded sports writer Pearse Corcoran has covered news, sport and entertainment for several national newspapers and radio stations in Ireland. Follow him on Twitter at @PearseCorcoran

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