Liverpool have pulled off one of the best transfers of the season by acquiring Schalke's centre back Joel Matip on a free - going through at the end of the season.
The Guardian has reported Matip’s reason for joining the Premier League outfit to be because he’s ready to start a new challenge. The German-born Cameroon international said:
“I have always said that there is only one reason I would leave Schalke - to experience something completely new. For that reason, I never considered a move to another Bundesliga club. Even though the decision wasn’t easy, I am certain that this is the right moment for me to take the next step in my career.”
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What Liverpool have needed for a long time
Ever since Jamie Carragher exceeded his sell-by-date, Liverpool have struggled to find a worthy centre back partner for Martin Skrtel. Dejan Lovren, Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Toure have all struggled to play consistent and reliable football. Whilst there’s a lot of expectation for Steven Caulker to become a key defender, Liverpool still really need a top, reliable pairing.
24-year-old Matip would become an instant starter at centre back, if he were to join the Reds today. Despite his relatively young age, the 6’4’’ defender has already clocked in 244 appearances for Schalke – along with 23 goals and 12 assists – and he has 27 caps for Cameroon.
What Matip will be bringing to Anfield
The star Bundesliga defender possesses incredible defensive instincts – that are developed far beyond his years. Matip’s great positioning and anticipation make him a nightmare for strikers to try and breakaway from.
Then there’s the Cameroonian’s mighty build. He’s a tall and physical defender who uses his strength on the ground and in aerial duels. What’s quite surprising is how quick off the mark he is, for such a big unit.
Matip is very close to being the complete package, and being just 24-years-old, there’s plenty of time for him to improve on his already very impressive skill set.
Liverpool have managed to solve their centre back issue, with a world-class talent, on a free transfer – which is the highlight of Jurgen Klopp’s reign so far.
Who should partner Matip at the heart of Liverpool's defence next season? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!