So Liverpool have announced the signing of Stuttgart midfielder, Wataru Endo, for a fee in the region of £16million according to Fabrizio Romano.
The 30-year-old travelled to Merseyside on Thursday to complete his medical tests before the club publicly announced the deal on Friday at 1230 BST.
After Liverpool’s failed attempts to sign Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia over the past couple of days, the Reds have moved quickly to secure their third signing of the summer after Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szobozslai’s arrivals earlier in the window.
The Japanese international is expected to becoming a back-up option for Klopp in both his midfield and defence, after the departures of the likes of James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho this summer.
Many Liverpool fans seem frustrated by the signing and especially the fee being paid for the player, but time will tell whether Jorg Schmadtke has got this one right.
Who is Wataru Endo?
Wataru Endo is a 30-year-old defensive midfielder, who most recently played for Stuttgart in the Bundesliga.
The midfielder is also currently the captain of the Japan National Team, making 50 appearances for his country and scoring two goals.
Since moving to Stuttgart in 2020, Endo has made 133 appearances across all competitions, scoring 15 goals and assisting a further 12.
Out of those appearances, 99 came in the Bundesliga where he scored 12 goals and assisted another 11.
Naturally, those numbers are actually quite impressive for a defensive midfielder who has also featured regularly as a central defender for the German side.
The midfielder also impressed at the 2022 Qatar World Cup, where two shock wins against Germany and Spain saw them advance to the knockout stages.
In the Round of 16, Japan were only knocked out in a penalty shootout defeat to eventual Semi-Finalists, Croatia.
How will Endo fit into Jurgen Klopp’s plans?
Liverpool’s squad has quickly went from being one of the oldest squads to one of the youngest squads in the Premier League, as the likes of James Milner, Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho all secured moves away from Anfield this summer.
With the latter two leaving a big void in the defensive midfield position, Klopp will desperately be looking to add some much-needed physicality and desire into the middle of the park.
That is certainly what he will get from the Japanese veteran, despite many fans being disappointed in the move.
Here are Endo’s numbers compared to every other Bundesliga midfielder since the start of the 2020 season:
- Most possession won in defensive third (254)
- Most aerial duels won (219)
- Most clearances (175)
- Most headed clearances (105)
- Second-most touches (6511)
- Second-most passes completed (3940)
- Second-most possession won in middle third (404)
- Second-most tackles (208)
All this has been achieved whilst playing his football for Stuttgart, who have regularly fought against relegation from the Bundesliga over recent years.
Although this may not be the move that will get Liverpool fans out of their seat, it could actually prove to be a really smart purchase which could provide some much-needed experience and depth to Klopp’s midfield and defensive line.