Cape Town - Schalke defender Joel Matip will head to the Premier League next season after signing a pre-contract arrangement with Liverpool, the Miners announced on Monday.
The 24-year-old's current deal with the Bundesliga club comes to an end at the conclusion of this season and, despite Schalke's best efforts, has decided to make the switch to England.
The Miners reportedly offered the defender, who can also play in the centre of midfield, a bumper new deal that would see his wages doubled, but ultimately it didn't prove to be enough to convince him to stay.
"We have held extensive discussions with both the player and his agent since May. It became clear very quickly that certain decisive factors meant we would not be able to influence his decision," explained sporting director Horst Heldt to the assembled press.
Schalke also revealed Liverpool first approached them about a possible transfer of Matip during the January window, but ultimately decided to wait and sign him for free at the end of the season instead.
The Germany-born Cameroon international admitted it was a tough decision to leave the club he has been with since he was 18, but said he was keen to face a new challenge.
"I have always said that there is only one reason I would leave Schalke - to experience something completely new," he said. "For that reason, I never considered a move to another Bundesliga club.
"Even though the decision wasn't easy, I am certain that this is the right moment for me to take the next step in my career," Matip concluded.