Ultimately, all of Schalke’s efforts were in vain, as the 24-year-old made the decision to leave the club upon the expiry of his contract. "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.
Joel Matip has explained these factors: "I have always said that there is only one reason I would leave Schalke - to experience something completely new. 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," said Joel Matip.
Schalke 04 will always be like my family. I have always been very proud to play for this fantastic club.Joel Matip“
Matip played for the Royal Blues for the first time in 2000, at the age of nine. He developed as a young talent in the Schalke academy, before making his Bundesliga debut against Bayern München on the 7th November 2009 aged 18 - scoring the equaliser in a 1-1 draw. In the following six years, he made an impressive 239 appearances in all competitions (23 goals). During this period, he was a Bundesliga Runner-up in 2010, DFB Cup champion in 2011 and played in the semi-final of the Champions League in 2011.
"Schalke 04 will always be like my family. I have always been very proud to play for this fantastic club," said the Matip, when explaining his decision to leave. "I will give my all in the coming months to ensure that we get the most we can out of this season. I owe that to both the fans and my team."