Klopp finally gets his man
SCHALKE — Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is set to land the centre-back of whom he’s long been a massive fan.
It’s not much of a surprise that Jurgen Klopp has planned a foray into the German market and sign Schalke’s Joel Matip — the tough defender who turned down Germany and decided to play for his father’s homeland Cameroon.
Good value, good players with European experience are ideal for his Anfield revolution.
The first of those will be Matip from Schalke. Klopp knows the German-born Matip well from his nine years with Schalke and he has been an ever-present for the Bundesliga side this season.
The 24-year-old was expected to announce his departure on Friday last week, having rejected a new deal in Gelsenkirchen and he’s now all set to join Liverpool ahead of a summer move to England.
Here is everything you need to know about the defender.
Background German-born to a German mother and Cameroonian father, Matip is regarded as one of Schalke’s own breed. He has been associated with the club for more than 15 years of his life and in this part of Germany, players with the same club identity means everything to the club.
It isn’t an over-exaggeration to suggest that Matip is one of the main fan favorites at the Veltins Arena.
Success, unsurprisingly, has been hard to come by at Schalke.
Despite boasting the secondhighest number of club members in Germany, the club has struggled to task to rejuvenate the club.
Meanwhile, Spurs have suffered so many false dawns that even their most ardent fans had long given up hope of their team ever winning the league title but Sunday victory at Manchester City has changed all that. mount a challenge to Bayern Munich in the last decade. Famously, they were champions for four minutes in 2001, long before Matip’s Bundesliga debut in 2009.
But he has solid experience of European competition, making 44 appearances in his time at Schalke. In 2011, he was a core first-team player as the Royal Blues reached the semi-finals of the tournament, losing to Manchester United. A year later, Schalke reached the quarterfinals of the Europa League.
Matip’s contract has been a talking point for sometime after extending in 2012 - a January move to Newcastle didn’t materialise.
At international level, Matip has been capped 27 times by Cameroon. He made his debut under former Lyon and Rangers coach Paul Le Guen at the age of 18.
Germany’s then Technical Director Matthias Sammer - now with Bayern - made inroads to secure his international future, but he was instead convinced to the country of his father Jean’s birth.
He has appeared at an African Cup of Nations and also two World Cup’s - the first, in 2010, at the age of 18.
Matip is perhaps a combination of different players; he has power, speed and technical quality. The closest comparison with a current top defender is arguably Bayern’s Mehdi Benatia.
With the right development, he could be a top central defender, one that would have been an asset to Klopp’s Reds.
Matip’s height is an obvious advantage. He towers over most of his opponents, and that aerial dominance should help him adapt to life
Spurs’ triumph at the Etihad Stadium, where they had lost on their last five visits, moved them within two points of Premier League leaders Leicester City and kept them in second place above Arsenal on goal difference with 12 matches to play. in the Premier League.
Additionally, he has particularly rangy strides which make up for any issues over pace. When he’s in flow, he’s as quick as most centreforwards. He doesn’t look particularly powerful, but he’s strong in the tackle.
This season, Matip has been one of Schalke’s strongest performers.
He’s cut down on mistakes and turned in performances when it mattered. He’s regularly the man on the end of crosses into the Schalke box and along with goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann are the two stalwarts of Andre Breitenreiter’s defensive unit.
Yet despite his improvements mentally, he can still be caught sleeping on the odd occasion - it’s a bit of a problem when you’re a centre-back who will go on rash charges up the pitch.
What will be encouraging to Liverpool fans is that there are no standout weaknesses. He’s a good footballer on top of his solid defensive traits.
How will he fit into his new
team If Klopp has his way, he wants aggressive and proactive defenders.
Mats Hummels embodied all of the defensive characteristics under the former Dortmund coach and has become a pretty unique commodity in European football.
Matip’s long strides will be ideal at cutting out long-balls over the top and he’s the kind of defender who wants to intercept rather than afford the striker room to move.
Did you know Joel is not the only Matip on the Bundesliga circuit. His brother Marvin plays for FC Ingolstadt and is considered as one of the best defenders in the league this sea- son by popular German magazine “Kicker”.
Something must run in the family, then. — .mirror.co.uk