Liverpool has made a shock move to sign Wataru Endo from Stuttgart in a deal worth around $20 million. The Reds were forced to make the move due to missing out on other key targets. The 30-year-old Japan international made 33 Bundesliga appearances last season, as Stuttgart finished 16th out of the 18 teams. He is now expected to complete his medical at Liverpool on Thursday.

Reds lose out on other top targets at the position

The Premier League side recently thought that they would be nabbing Moises Caicedo away from Brighton. Liverpool had agreed a massive $141 million fee with the Seagulls for the highly rated midfielder. However, Chelsea quickly swooped in to sign the Ecuador international instead. Caicedo chose to sign with the west London club rather than the Reds.

Then, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp went to plan B in his search for a defensive midfielder. The German manager shifted focus on Southampton’s Romeo Lavia. The freshly relegated side demanded around $63 million for the young Belgian, and despite Liverpool finally agreeing a fee with Southampton, Chelsea once again snatched the player away from Merseyside. Much like Caicedo, Lavia also preferred a switch to the Blues.

Now on to plan C, Liverpool seems to have wrapped up a deal for Endo. While not quite a marquee signing, the midfielder does finally fill a significant hole in the club’s defense. Endo was in the race to join Liverpool among players like Cheick Doucoure from Crystal Palace.

Wataru Endo to complete new midfield trio at Liverpool

The Reds have seen Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, James Milner, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Arthur Melo all depart the team this summer. With a major rebuild needed in the center of the pitch, Klopp has completed the signings of Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister to go along with the pending Endo.

A club captain at Stuttgart, Endo has also been a mainstay in the Japan national team since 2020. The defensive midfielder played all four matches for his country at the 2022 World Cup as well. This includes playing 90 minutes in his nation’s surprise victory against Germany in the group stage.

The signing helps Liverpool fill a hole. Yet, he may miss several matches at the turn of the year. The 2024 Asian Cup starts on Jan. 12 and runs for about a month. Endo may feature for his national team at the tournament in Qatar.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Ulmer/Teamfoto