Schalke chief claims Joel Matip wants to stay despite reported Newcastle interest

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Schalke general manager Horst Heldt says Joel Matip wants to stay at the club.

Schalke general manager Horst Heldt has told Der Western that defender Joel Matip wants to stay with the club - despite speculation of a move to Newcastle.

The Daily Mail reported last week that Newcastle manager Steve McClaren had lined up Matip as his prime target to improve his defence, with a £10m fee quoted.

The Cameroon international, 24, has impressed in Germany, but Schalke look set for a rebuild this summer - with Newcastle looking to snatch Matip away from the Gelsenkirchen outfit.

However, McClaren's hopes of landing Matip have been dealt a blow, with Schalke general manager Horst Heldt telling Der Western that the player wants to stay at the Veltins Arena - and could even sign a new contract with the club having had a preliminary conversation about the matter.

"Joel wants to stay at Schalke," said Heldt. "So far we have not been talking about a new contract. All we did was begin exploratory talks."

Primary concern?

McClaren arrives at Newcastle with the Magpies needing a complete overhaul of the playing staff at St. James' Park having only narrowly avoided relegation.

Virtually every area of the pitch could be strengthened, but the heart of the defence appears to be the most pressing concern for the new boss.

Experienced duo Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson struggled last season, meaning McClaren must bring in a younger, more athletic centre back to aid his defence.

Whether that's Matip or somebody else, central defence should be McClaren's primary concern over the summer months as he looks to build his own squad.

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