Klopp Finally Gets His Defensive Midfielder

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Liverpool and manager Jurgen Klopp’s somewhat lengthy search for a defensive midfielder this summer is now over, as on Friday afternoon the club announced the capture of Japanese international midfielder Wataru Endo from Bundesliga side Stuttgart.

Subject to a work permit being granted and his international clearance coming through, the 30 year old versatile player will join the club for a £16.2 million fee and the ink will dry on a four year contract.

Having missed out in their chase for Ecuador international Moises Caicedo and Belgian Romeo Lavia, who ultimately chose Chelsea and Stamford Bridge as they respectively left Brighton and Hove Albion and Southampton in recent days, it at least closes that chapter for Liverpool and if the 50 capped international hits the ground running, the price they have paid has been an absolute snip compared to the prices those two ultimately went for.

Endo can also play as a centre back, so he offers Klopp extra coverage, but it is unlikely he will ever feature there for them.

Speaking to the media after his signing was announced, the player explained.

“It feels amazing. It’s always been a dream to play in the Premier League and with one of the biggest clubs in the world. It’s a dream come true for me. I think I can help this club defensively and I will have good organisation in the middle.”

Having seen the departures of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain so far this summer, Klopp has already added Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai to their midfield, so with Endo’s experience (he was also Stuttgart’s skipper), there should be a better balance now, but whether their work in the market is done or not, remains to be seen as there is just under two weeks left in the transfer window before it slams shut until January.

Klopp is obviously pleased with the signing at any rate.

“I’m really happy. Wataru is a really good player. He is very experienced and loves to work extremely hard. He’s a late bloomer, he was definitely underestimated, but he has improved every year since he has been in a proper football setting. When he came to Stuttgart he got an opportunity and never gave it away. When I saw him there’s no chance I thought he was 30. On the pitch, he’s a monster and wants to fight. He has been on my radar for a while. I’m personally really happy and now let’s start working.”

For fans who do not know much about the player, he certainly departs his former club with some great sentiments, as Stuttgart manager Sebastian Hoeness said.

“Both in sporting and in human terms, we’re losing a very reliable player and captain in Wataru. The important goals he scored are only part of the reason why he’s been so significant for us. The fact that he can fulfil his dream of playing in the Premier League at the age of 30 is also recognition for the club and the people who have accompanied him here. I wish him all the best.”

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