With Liverpool having secured the services of Joel Matip, there has been discussion about what he can bring to the club. Firstly, he is a tall, athletic centre back who has made over two hundred appearances for Schalke 04.
This means that he is fairly experienced in a European league, especially for a 24 year old. His main assets are concentration, tackling and ball interception, as well as providing a dangerous threat from offensive set pieces (whoscored, 2016.) There has been speculation about both his role and salary; it was reported by BILD (2016) that he would be on a contract worth £5.4m a year plus a £4m signing on fee. Whether these are accurate figures or not is debatable, however it would suggest that Matip is a big part of Jürgen KIopp’s plans.
Matip began his career at Weitmar 45, until VfL Bochum scouted and signed him in 1997. He played in the youth leagues in his time at VfL Bochum, where his performances were noticed by one of the top clubs in Germany, Schalke 04. He continued his development for many years at Schalke, until making his first professional appearance in 2009. It is worth noting that he made his Bundesliga debut against European powerhouses, Bayern Munich, in 2009. He scored a decisive goal in this game and was awarded Man of the Match. This exemplifies his talent and illustrates a fearless attitude and determination to be successful. He has enjoyed a good ratio of goal scoring success for a centre back, 17 goals in 181 appearances (approximately one goal in 10.6 games).
Matip is a German-born Cameroonian footballer, who can play as a centre back or as a defensive central midfielder. The versatility of him will have attracted the attention of Jürgen Klopp, as he will fit into a range of tactical systems. Liverpool’s have lacked defensive organisation, leadership and the ability to defend set pieces this season. The team also lacks height at the back. Joel Matip is 6’4ft and it is hoped that he can improve Liverpool’s fortunes in all of these aspects. Liverpool fought off competition for his signature, both from England and Germany. Jürgen Klopp has stated that it was a signing hand-picked by him and I believe his presence is a key factor in attracting him to the club.
I believe Joel Matip has the potential to be not just regular in the Liverpool defence, but a leader with star quality. If the fans are patient with his adaption process, he could turn out to be a very smart transfer move by the club, especially on a free transfer.