Wataru Endo (L) is set to add to Liverpool’s options in midfield (Thomas KIENZLE)
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said on Friday he was happy to sign “late bloomer” Wataru Endo, with the Japan midfielder arriving at Anfield after Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia opted to join Chelsea instead.
No fee has been disclosed for the 30-year-old Endo’s “long-term contract” but reports valued his move from Bundesliga club Stuttgart at £19 million ($24 million, 22 million euros).
Liverpool have been on the hunt for a defensive midfielder since both captain Jordan Henderson and Fabinho made the move to Saudi Arabia during the ongoing transfer window.
The Reds’ attempts to sign Brighton’s Caicedo and Southampton’s Lavia failed, with both players heading to big-spending Chelsea.
But Klopp, speaking ahead of Saturday’s match against Bournemouth — the Reds’ first home game this season following last week’s draw at Chelsea — told a press conference he had long been an admirer of Endo.
“First of all, I’m really happy that we can have an agreement with a club and a player which is really cool,” Klopp said.
“I am from Germany, I watch a lot of Bundesliga, I’ve known him since he is at Stuttgart, I liked him pretty much from the start when he started playing there.
“He’s a little bit of a late bloomer and usually for us for the way our owners see it, he was already too old when he joined Stuttgart but I obviously have a different view on that and I always liked him.”
On Liverpool’s transfer market issues, Klopp added: “The last week was obviously a tricky one, no doubt about that. But when you have a problem you can stick to the problem or find a solution, I’m more than happy to have the solution.
“The transfer business is like that — you talk to people, the players and clubs and sometimes it works out and sometimes not.
“There’s nothing else to say about that. All things that were said in these conversations, they stay between me and the specific other party, nothing to say about that, really.”
Endo told Liverpool’s website that signing to play for one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League was a “dream come true for me”.
“I’m very happy right now and I’m so excited to join a big club in Liverpool,” he said.
“It feels amazing and this is my dream.”