Liverpool have launched a bid to sign Schalke defender Joel Matip in the current transfer window despite the fact that they could sign him for free in the summer, reports Sky Sports.
Jurgen Klopp has been widely tipped to make a move for Matip in the coming months. With less than six months remaining on his contract, the 6' 4" centre-back is free to talk to Liverpool and other foreign clubs.
It had previously been reported by the Mirror that Liverpool had managed to agree a pre-contract with Matip, but it now seems Klopp is ready to pay Schalke a small fee to fast-track the deal to the current transfer window.
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Liverpool have struggled defensively this season and have already agreed a six-month loan deal for QPR centre-back Steven Caulker to quell the effects of an injury crisis. However, Klopp seems determined to bolster his options further.
The size of the offer has not been mentioned in the report, but it is still likely to total several million pounds. While that may seem like a lot for a player available for free in five months, Schalke are likely to resist anything other than a notable offer.
Currently just two points shy of a Champions League qualifying spot, Schalke know that selling Matip, one of their best players, could cost them in the race to play in Europe's elite competition next season, not to mention the bounty of riches that in doing so brings.
They also haven't given up hope of convincing Matip to stay despite the fact that he has already told officials at the Veltins Arena that he is ready for a new challenge.
Securing Champions League football gives them every chance of tying him down to a new deal, especially if Liverpool don't force their way into the competition.