Who is Wataru Endo? Position, club, age, transfer fee
The VfB Stuttgart midfielder is reportedly close to a Liverpool transfer as Jurgen Klopp looks to fortify his squad for the season ahead.
Liverpool are thought to be close to a deal to bring Japanese midfielder Wataru Endo to the club.
On Wednesday German side VfB Stuttgart accepted a €18 million ($19.5m) offer from Liverpool for the 30-year-old. He is expected to undergo a medical with the club on Thursday as Liverpool look to bolster their squad.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are short of defensive midfielders after the unexpected departures of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson this summer. They submitted substantial offers for Brighton & Hove Albion’s Moisés Caicedo and Romeo Lavia of Southampton, but both opted for a move to Chelsea instead.
Endo is not a long-term solution for the problem position, but he would ensure that Klopp has some cover in that area for the season ahead. Liverpool played with three attack-minded midfielders in last weekend’s draw with Chelsea and looked defensively susceptible to quick transitions.
Wataru Endo stats rank him among the best in Bundesliga
The 30-year-old Japan international is not the most ambitious of transfers but he could be a useful addition to the Liverpool squad. He can bring a degree of experience lost with the departures of Fabinho and Henderson and is a relatively cheap option as Liverpool go after other midfield targets.
After leaving Japan in 2018 Endo played in Belgium for two years before being picked up by VfB Stuttgart. Since moving to Germany he has been a regular for the Bundesliga side and scored a crucial stoppage time winner that saved the club from relegation in 2022.
A combative and hard-working midfielder, Endo ranked among the best in his position in the Bundesliga last season. He recorded the third-most ball recoveries in the league and completed more headed clearances than any other player.
On the ball he was also influential and managed the ninth-most final third passes of any player in the top flight. Most impressively, he did this in a team that only narrowly avoided relegation.
With 50 international caps to his name Endo would bring considerable experience to Klopp’s team and could become a trusted lieutenant. But Liverpool fans will want to see at least one further signing in the transfer market to give them confidence in the club’s direction.