Liverpool’s very public pursuit of midfield reinforcements has left the Reds more than a little red-faced at times this summer, though the Merseysiders are finally on the cusp of strengthening the problem position in Jurgen Klopp’s team.
In something of a surprise move, Liverpool have set up a deal to sign Japanese international Wataru Endo and news broke yesterday evening to confirm that a move to bring the 30-year-old to Anfield is close.
Liverpool’s midfield has undergone major surgery during the transfer window, though the capture of Endo would represent possibly their strangest dip into the market so far.
Wataru Endo to Liverpool – the latest lowdown
Liverpool have tried in vain to sign primary midfield targets Mason Mount, Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia this summer, though a surprise move for Stuttgart regular Wataru Endo has been lined up as a quick-to-complete back-up option.
The Reds have already agreed a fee with Stuttgart for Endo believed to be in the region of €18m (£15.4m) – a fee that falls way short of the outlay it would have taken to bring Mount, Caicedo or Lavia to Anfield.
A medial has already been set up for the 30-year-old on Thursday and Endo has already agreed personal terms with his new employers.
The pursuit of Endo has been the brainchild of the club’s new sporting director Jörg Schmadtke who arrived at Liverpool in May armed with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the talent available in the Bundesliga.
A fan favourite at Stuttgart, Endo is known for his ball-winning and battling qualities, while his skill in possession is often underrated. Endo started 33 times in the Bundesliga last season, claiming five goals and four assists across the campaign.
Liverpool have already signed Dominik Szoboszlai from German top tier side RB Leipzig this summer and Endo will make the same trek west to sign on the dotted line.
Jurgen Klopp overawe a midfield exodus during the transfer window with Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Naby Keita and James Milner all allowed to seek out new challenges elsewhere.
However, while ex-RB Leipzig star Szoboszlai and former Brighton schemer Alexis Mac Allister have helped to offset the club’s losses in midfield, further additions are needed to bring Klopp’s options back up to standard.
Sofyan Amrabat next in line after Endo?
Alongside the signing of Wataru Endo, Liverpool are also believed to have stepped up their interest in Moroccan international Sofyan Amrabat.
The Fiorentina anchorman has already been linked with a move to Liverpool’s Premier League rivals Manchester United, however, the Red Devils are yet to push the button on a deal, giving their traditional foes an opportunity to steal in.
Several reports have indicated that Amrabat favours a move to Old Trafford however, with the midfielder keen to be reunited with Erik ten Hag who he worked under at FC Utrecht earlier in his career.
Liverpool will be keen to approach any prospective chase of Amrabat with caution and avoiding another embarrassing scenario where they are rejected by a player for their rivals will be paramount, however, the 26-year-old certainly fits the profile of player the Reds are scouring the market for.