Joel Matip
Joel Matip will leave Schalke in the summer as he is looking for a new challenge after 16 years at GelsenkirchenGetty

Schalke defender Joel Matip will join Liverpool on a free transfer in the summer. He came up through the ranks of the Bundesliga outfit's youth set-up before breaking into the first team in 2009 and is now looking for an exit.

The 24-year-old has less than six months left on his contract and has refused to sign a new deal with his current employers. He is looking for a fresh challenge after the end of the season and wants to leave Gelsenkirchen after spending 16 years.

The player can have a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club as his contract at Schalke will expire after the end of the season. According to the Mirror, the Merseyside club have agreed a deal in principle in bringing him to Anfield later this year.

Jurgen Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers last October just months after ending his time at Borussia Dortmund following the 2014/15 season. The German manager is aware of Matip's potential and is a huge admirer of the player during his time at the Signal Iduna Park.

Liverpool have already completed the signing of Steven Caulker on loan until the end of the season. Klopp has seen his centre backs struggle with injuries and he admitted the England international was added to the squad to cover the Reds' defensive injuries.

Caulker is only to fix the short-term injury woes at Anfield and provide the Reds manager more options during the team selection for the remainder of the season. Kolo Toure's contract at the club runs down at the end of the season and he is likely to be allowed to leave on a free transfer.

Matip could take the place of the former Arsenal and Manchester City defender in the squad. Schalke star is a versatile player as he can feature as a centre-back and a defensive midfielder.

Any move from Liverpool in the ongoing transfer window has been ruled out. Schalke coach Andre Breitenreiter admitted the player will continue at the Veltins-Arena until the end of the season.

"I can rule out a winter departure," Breitenreiter told Kicker, as quoted by ESPN. "I am wishing for more competition between the players in the Ruckrunde [second half of the season]. We need that to maximise their performances."