Liverpool are reportedly set to announce a pre-contract agreement with Schalke centre-back Joel Matip on Monday ahead of him joining the Reds in the summer as a free agent.
The 24-year-old Cameroonian's current deal with Schalke expires at the end of the 2015-16 season, and he has been widely linked with Liverpool since it was revealed he had turned down an offer of extended terms from the Bundesliga club, per German outlet Reviersport (via Chisanga Malata in the Daily Star).
Melissa Reddy of Goal has reported Matip will join Liverpool on a four-year deal in the summer after seeing out the remainder of his Schalke contract.
Jurgen Klopp's side are currently weak in defence and have often been hampered this season at centre-back as Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho have been regularly injured.
Steven Caulker was brought in on loan in January to bolster the ranks, but he will do little to aid the Reds in the long term, per Bleacher Report's Dean Jones:
Matip's arrival, on the other hand, could have a big impact on improving Liverpool's long-struggling back line.
Despite his relative youth, Matip is very experienced having broken into Schalke's senior team in 2009—he has made 181 Bundesliga appearances already in his career, per WhoScored.com.
As noted by German football commentator Kevin Hatchard, he has made impressive progress in the last couple of seasons and should improve further under Klopp's management:
Kevin Hatchard @kevinhatchard
For any #lfc fans wondering about Matip, he's come on leaps and bounds as a CB in last two years. Strong in the air and athletic.2/15/2016, 9:43:17 AM
Physically imposing, Matip should have little trouble adapting to the challenges of the Premier League, while his positional awareness will be a major asset in the Liverpool defence.
Furthermore, he is a significant aerial threat in the opposition box and should score the odd goal from set pieces.
Even in the 2013-14 season when they almost won the Premier League title, Liverpool's defence was very poor—they conceded 50 goals in the English top flight that term.
Little improvement has been made since then, but Matip could be a fine addition to the side, and it is quite a coup that Liverpool look set to get him for free.
Elsewhere, Liverpool are reportedly planning another raid on the Bundesliga to sign Borussia Monchengladbach's Havard Nordtveit.
According to Neil Moxley in the Sunday People, the Norway international's contract also expires in the summer, and Klopp is a fan, having tracked him in the German top flight when he was in charge at Borussia Dortmund.
Nordtveit, 25, can operate at centre-back, right-back or in central midfield and could be an excellent utility player for Klopp, especially if he can be signed for free in the summer.
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