After missing out on Moisés Caicedo and Roméo Lavia, Fabrizio Romano broke the news on Wednesday night that Liverpool had submitted a formal bid to Stuttgart for Japanese midfielder Wataru Endo. It feels like somewhat of a wild-card that has been plucked out of nowhere, but the 30-year-old has been one of the Bundesliga’s best, and most consistent, midfielders over the past two seasons in what’s been a mediocre Stuttgart squad.
Primarily a No. 6, Endo will sit in front of the defence and carry out his duties. A disciplined leader- captain of Stuttgart and Japan, and an experienced professional, he wins a high number of aerial duels, is excellent at progressing the ball from deep and has consistently been one of the Bundesliga’s best tacklers.
According to FBRef, Endo is in the top 5% of midfielders across Europe’s Top 5 Leagues when it comes to aerials won (2.33 per 90) and is in the top 6% for clearances (2.00 per 90). Endo also excels in tackling statistics and progressing the ball. Only 7 players tackled more dribblers in the Bundesliga than Endo last season, while he completed 171 progressive passes- bettered by just 6 other players, 4 of which played for either Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund.
Not only that, Endo scores important goals. Just two years ago, he would score a 92nd minute winner against FC Köln to secure their Bundesliga status on the final day of the 2021/22 season. And then last season, he had 10 goal contributions (5 goals, 5 assists) in 2,925 minutes across 33 Bundesliga games – he too would score and assist in a 4-1 win against Mainz on the penultimate matchday, a game that they needed to win.
Undergoing a medical on Thursday, Liverpool are expected to finalise Endo’s €25m move. In today’s market, especially the Premier League, it’s not a significant fee for a player of Endo’s quality. He has all the attributes and correct mentality to succeed in a Jürgen Klopp side and it’s no surprise that Jörg Schmadtke has turned his attention towards the Bundesliga market, one that he knows well.
GGFN | Daniel Pinder