The Reds have finally signed a new defensive midfielder this summer. Wataru Endō to Liverpool is now a done deal, as the club wants to reinforce their midfield this campaign.
After missing out on Moisés Caicedo and Roméo Lavia. Jurgen Klopp’s side have finally laid their hands on a new DM, wanting more legs in the midfield to bolster the team’s performance.
According to David Ornstein of The Athletic, Liverpool have reached an agreement with Stuttgart for Wataru Endō. The 30-year-old Japanese will join the Reds family for a fee of €19 million this summer.
The Japan international has already agreed personal terms with the club. And he will reportedly undergo his medical as a new Liverpool’s player on Thursday in the Premier League.
Stuttgart have already allowed Endō tí join the English side. As a result, Jurgen Klopp’s side are on the verge of confirming the arrival of their new defensive midfielder this summer transfer window.
Of course, the Reds want Premier League proven players. Which explains why they were hell-bent on signing Moisés Caicedo and Roméo Lavia.
However, since the Ecuadorian and Belgian youngsters preferred to join Chelsea. The Reds have chosen to get Wataru’s signature, so as to be able to bolster the team’s display from the midfield.
Despite the arrival of Wataru Endō. Liverpool are still going to sign more midfielders this summer. At least, they reportedly have many players on their radar, considering their options.
According to several reports, the club is now linked to Aurélien Tchouaméni and Federico Valverde of Real Madrid. Also, they are considering a move for Ryan Gravenberch of Bayern Munich.
Regardless of any players on their radar. The 30-year-old Japanese will be joining the Premier League side, as he has the ability to establish himself under Jurgen Klopp.
In all fairness, Wataru isn’t the type of midfielder the Reds want. However, the Japan international is such an underrated midfielder. His defensive awareness makes him special as a defensive midfielder.
Despite the arrivals of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai. Liverpool needs a new midfielder, who can successfully play the deep role in the midfield.
As a result, the arrival of a defensive midfielder would help Mac Allister and Szoboszlai in the squad. The German manager is building something special with a new DM this season.
Jurgen Klopp desires to play Trent Alexander-Arnold. However, it seems the gaffer has changed his mind, wanting at least two more new midfielders this summer transfer window.
Therefore, Wataru Endō to Liverpool doesn’t hinder the arrival of a new midfielder. All hands are on deck at Anfield, they keep hunting for a new midfielder to balance the team’s performance.
Wataru Endō stats for Stuttgart
9 goal contributions
0.2 goals per 90
1.4 shots per 90
0.5 shots on target per 90
7 big chances created
1.4 key passes per 90
80% pass accuracy
0.8 interceptions per 90
2.1 tackles per 90
1.8 clearances per 90
58% dribble success
50% ground duels won
58% aerial duels won
52% total duels won
The 30-year-old Japanese may not be one of the best midfielders in Europe’s top-5 leagues. However, he’s not as bad or poor as a defensive midfielder as some people think.
The Japan international has the ability to improve the team’s performance. He can comfortably dictate the team’s tempo from the midfield as the DM.
Wataru Endó vs Bundesliga midfielders since the start of the 2020-2021
- Most possession won in defensive ⅓ (254)
- Most aerial duels won (219)
- Most clearances (175)
- Most headed clearances (105)
- Second-most touches (6511)
- Second-most passes completed (3940)
- Second-most possession won middle final ⅓ (404)
- Second-most tackles (208)
With Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai as double No.8. Wataru is capable of playing as a lone defensive midfielder, commanding the midfield.
Jurgen Klopp loves to play the 4-3-3 formation. As a result, he can only play one DM on the pitch. Therefore, the Japanese midfielder isn’t really going to flop at Liverpool.
Who is Wataru Endō?
The 30-year-old has apparently spent some years in Europe’s top-5 leagues. However, he started his career at Shonan Bellmare and Urawa Red Diamonds in Japan.
As a result of his flawless performances in the midfield. He had the opportunity to join Sint-Truiden in Belgium, but that was before he joined Stuttgart on loan in 2019.
Of course, his arrival changed many things for the team. Therefore, he helped Stuttgart return to the Bundesliga, signing a permanent contract with the club.
Well, Wataru has spent three excellent seasons at Stuttgart. Meanwhile, he was able to score 12 goals and register 11 assists for the German side.
The 30-year-old Japanese can handle the toxicity in the Premier League. Of course, he became a Stuttgart captain as a result of his flawless displays at the club in all competitions.
Endō started his football career as a defensive midfielder. However, his versatility allows him to play as a centre-back and a central midfielder on the pitch.
Wataru Endō’s strengths and weaknesses
The Reds fans are most likely to be stunned by the player’s strongest skills and limitations. He’s such a complete and all-around defensive midfielder.
Versatility; the Japan international has the ability to play multiple roles in the midfield. His versatility usually gives him an edge over his teammates on the squad.
Wataru can successfully play as a lone DM and double defensive midfielder. At the same time, he can play as a central midfielder, a centre-back and a full-back.
Frankly, his versatility explains why Jurgen Klopp wanted the Japanese midfielder. Because he will give more legs in different positions in the midfield, considering his flexibility.
Positioning; Endō doesn’t carry last in the midfield. He has his own ways of reading the game, positioning himself close to the centre-backs at the defense line.
Even though he plays as a single or double DM. The Japan international usually positions himself very well in midfield. Because he would want to make tackles and interceptions.
Ball-winning; the player’s ball-winning ability is very impressive. At least, he had 52% total duels won in the Bundesliga for Stuttgart last season.
Wataru does win the ball comfortably, either in aerial or ground duels. Also, he’s an impressive tackler, chasing the ball left, right, and center on the pitch.
As a result of his ball-winning ability. He does intercept the ball anywhere on the pitch, averaging 2.1 tackles and 0.8 interceptions per 90 minutes in the league last campaign.
Passing prowess; despite being a defensive midfielder. The Japan international is a good passer, he likes to make a series of passes accurately from the midfield.
Endō had 80% pass accuracy for Stuttgart last season. As a DM, that’s an impressive number for the player. Surprisingly, he has the ability to make long passes, switching roles in the midfield.
Press resistance; the 30-year-old Japanese plays comfortably under pressure. Regardless of the opponent’s pressure, he handles the ball very well, showing off his confidence as a defensive midfielder.
Of course, the Premier League comes with a lot of toxicity. Nevertheless, the player can handle pressure very well. Which means he can actually add many qualities to the team’s display.
Ball-carrying; even though the Japan international is a defensive midfielder. He’s an impressive ball carrier, as regards his all-around statistics for Stuttgart last season.
Amazingly, he usually scans the pitch before moving the ball forward. His ball-carrying ability is actually flawless, he leans on his dribbling prowess to make key passes.
Dribbling prowess; despite the fact that Wataru plays as a defensive midfielder. He’s a good dribbler, having created 7 big chances in the Bundesliga last campaign.
The player’s dribbling skills are amazing. He’s actually good in 1v1 situations, which will make him a good player in the Premier League at Liverpool this season.
Even though he usually puts his tackling and defensive skills into action. His dribbling prowess is impressive, he can get past the opponent’s players with ease.
Aerial dueling; the Japan international is very good in the air. Of course, that will definitely help him in the Premier League, considering his ability to fly in the air.
Surprisingly, Wataru had 58% aerial duels won in the Bundesliga in 2022-2023. He’s dominant in the air, contesting for the ball, destroying the opponent’s players with his athleticism.
Ball striking; Endō has the ability to play long shots. Of course, he’s a defensive midfielder. However, he does move the ball forward, showing his ball-carrying ability on the pitch.
Unbelievably, Endō doesn’t have any significant weaknesses as a defensive midfielder. He’s a complete DM, considering his defensive prowess on the pitch.
The 30-year-old Japanese has enough ability to play under Jurgen Klopp. He doesn’t actually have any significant limitations, which will help him in the Premier League.
Despite being a DM, he’s above average both defensively and offensively. As a result, he’s such a standard and complete midfielder in the world of football.
What is Wataru Endō position?
Initially, the Japan international plays as a defensive midfielder. He can play a single or double deep role in the midfield, relying on his defensive prowess.
At the same time, Wataru can switch positions, playing as a central midfielder. Surprisingly, his defensive skills allow him to play as a centre-back and fullback.
Under the 3-at-the-back formation. The Japanese midfielder can play as a fullback, putting his defensive and offensive skills into action on the pitch, regardless of the competition.
Wataru Endō’s style of play
The 30-year-old Japanese likes to play long balls, despite playing as a defensive midfielder. He loves to connect with his teammates up front with his passes.
Also, Wataru Endō likes to make tackles and interceptions. At least, he usually plays to shield the defense line, showing off his defensive prowess on the pitch.
Having been a DM, the player loves to cover a lot of ground in the midfield. As a result, he will be able to balance the team’s defensive and offensive performances.
Wataru loves to position himself close to the centre-backs. Therefore, he will be able to receive the ball, turn, and make short or long passes to his teammates.
The Japan international loves to scan the midfield. This allows him to make tackles flawlessly, he barely commits any defensive errors as a defensive midfielder.
Endō is always careful on the ball. He despises making defensive flaws, scanning his surroundings before his movements on the pitch. He usually plays safe as a DM.
Of course, the Japanese midfielder loves to progress the ball. His ball-carrying ability makes it easy for him, to rely on his dribbling prowess to create chances.
As a defensive midfielder, the player averaged 1.4 key passes for Stuttgart last season. It reveals that he loves to move the ball forward, connecting with his teammates.