When Liverpool splash big on a centre-back this summer, we should remember that however lofty the price-tag is, we got Joel Matip in 2016 on a free.
‘£50m for Koulibaly (for example…) AND Matip’ doesn’t sound too bad, does it?!
Our Cameroonian enjoyed a stellar debut campaign, which would have been even better had he managed to stay fit throughout. His form was excellent, but the fact we had to deploy multiple different centre-back pairings because of his and Dejan Lovren’s injuries caused problems.
But with a full pre-season behind him, we hope to see Matip at an even higher level.
The 25-year-old has told fans where he thinks his strengths lie and explained some of the difficulties of playing in England, too.
“I really like to have the ball. It’s one of the nicest things when you’re out on the pitch,” he told the Echo.
“I try to do my best: when to look forward, when to create chances or help my team-mates in front.
“But I am very self-critical as well. I always want to improve myself. You have to work hard and keep trying and learning – that’s the way you get better.
“Before I came here I knew about the Premier League. I saw a lot of games and I had an idea what to expect. So I prepared right from the beginning.
“Maybe the top teams try to play a bit more, but every team gives everything in this league.
“The ball goes from one end of the pitch to the other all the time so you can always be vulnerable if you’re not at your best. You have to concentrate because in every match just one situation can decide it.”
Matip and Lovren are actually a very able combo, but with Liverpool likely to sign a new centre-back, neither are guaranteed a starting spot in 2017/18. For us, Matip is the better player and we’d love to see an equally superb defender next to him in our first-choice XI.