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Liverpool to sign Matip from Schalke

Schalke have confirmed defender Joel Matip will join Liverpool on a free transfer at the end of the season.

The Bundesliga club claim to have done all they could to keep him in Gelsenkirchen but the player's desire to experience a different league proved decisive.

Schalke general manager Horst Heldt told the club's official website: "We have since May last year had many intensive discussions with Joel and his advisor. But it was soon clear that we could not influence the factors that were decisive in Joel's decision."

Matip came through the ranks of the Schalke youth academy and has made over 200 appearances in all competitions since making his official debut in November 2009.

The defender has been a key figure for Schalke this campaign, scoring three goals in 21 Bundesliga outings.

Matip becomes manager Jurgen Klopp's second signing since his arrival at Liverpool in October 2015, following the capture of Marko Grujic from Red Star Belgrade.

The 24-year-old said: "I have always said I would only leave Schalke for one reason: to experience something new.

"Therefore a change within the Bundesliga was never a consideration. Although it has not been an easy decision to make I am convinced now is the right time to make this step.

"Schalke will remain a big family for me and I was always proud to play for this great club. Therefore I will do everything possible over the coming months to get the most out of this season."

Liverpool also later confirmed that Matip would head to Anfield ahead of the 2016-17 season.