The Northern Echo is reporting this morning that Joel Matip the 23 year-old Schalke center back who will become a free agent next summer, is one of Newcastle’s top targets in January, and we were linked with Matip a number of times last summer.
We hope this report is accurate because Joel would be a great acquisition for us.
Joel Matip – 23 year-old 6’4″ center-back
The 6’4″ center back has played for Cameroon 21 times and he joined Schalke 04 way back in 2000 and has played for them 226 times with 22 goals and 12 assists.
Newcastle talked to Schalke officials over the summer about their center back who can also play in defensive midfield and were pondering a £10M bid, but for whatever reason a formal bid was not lodged.
Joel should come at less than £10M in January although it remains to be seen if the German club are prepared to sell half way through the season.
As we reported yesterday Germany and Spain are the two major countries Newcastle are scouting at the moment and there is money to spend in January,
We would assume how much money is available would depend to some extent on where we are in the league table at the end of this year and if we are near the bottom we expect Mike Ashley to make significant funds available.
The last thing everybody wants at the club is another relation battle after what happened last season.
Matip made his first team debut for Schalke back in November of 2009 as an 18 year-old against Bayern Munich.
Joel was born in Bochum to a German mother and a Cameroonian father and Germany were keen for him to play for them, but Matip decided he wanted to play for Cameroon, and he made his debut for the African side in a friendly against Italy in March 2010.
Matip was in the Cameroon squad for both the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa as a 19 year-old and in last year’s World Cup in Brazil.
He would be an excellent acquisition for Newcastle if we can get him in and he would offer some height in central defense.
The other center back Newcastle are interested in is 6’3″ tall Wolfsburg defender, Robin Knoche, although it appears Matip is Newcastle’s number one target in January.