Joel Matip
Matip is out of contract at the end of the season. Getty

Germany's Schalke insists they are currently unaware of any agreement between their defender Joel Matip and Liverpool. Defender Matip, 24, is out of contract at the end of the season and has been reluctant to renew his stay at the Volkswagen Arena. Given their own shortage of options in the centre half, Liverpool have been heavily linked with signing the player upon the expiration of his current deal.

On Thursday (28 January 2016), Sky Sports News suggested that the Merseyside club had moved ahead with a play for the Cameroon international, with Der Westen reporting that a 'positive meeting' had taken place between the player's representatives and Premier League officials, believed to have been from Liverpool. Amid growing reports of an agreement, Schalke's director Horst Heldt said via the club's official Twitter account that nothing official has been confirmed.

"I can't confirm that that an agreement has been made with @LFC regarding #Matip," he said.

Schalke coach André Breitenreiter reiterated his desire to hold on to Matip during his press conference on Thursday. "I would hope very much that he stays with us. He is an important cornerstone, a great player and a special person," he was quoted as saying by Die Welt. Schalke have insisted that Matip would not be sold during the January transfer window.

Liverpool have signed defender Steven Caulker to alleviate some of their more immediate concerns in the centre half, but Matip is reportedly Jurgen Klopp's long-term choice at the heart of defence. While the Schalke defender is not available this month, Liverpool are still looking to strengthen their squad in other areas. Shakhtar Donetsk attacking midfielder Alex Teixeira remains heavily linked with a move to Anfield, having recently revealed his desperation to see the transfer happen before the January window closes.

Teixeira, 26, explained that his club have already rejected one offer from the Merseyside club, but still hopes his agent can secure him the move he desires.