Liverpool-bound Endo becomes Japan’s oldest PL player…Klopp hails “we don’t buy players in their 30s”

Japan national soccer team captain Wataru Endo, 30, has signed for Liverpool.

Liverpool announced the signing of Endo from German Bundesliga side Stuttgart on the club’s website on Aug. 18.

The Reds reportedly spent a transfer fee of 18 million euros ($26.2 billion) for Endo, who is the club’s third signing of the season. Endo has been given a shirt number. Endo, who has been assigned the No. 3 shirt, is expected to anchor Liverpool’s midfield defense.

The Reds have seen a lot of change in midfield this summer, with Jordan Henderson (Al Etihad), James Milner (Brighton & Hove Albion), Naby Keita (Werder Bremen) and Fabinho (Al Ittihad) departing. Alexis Sanchez and Dominik Soboslaj have been brought in to replace them.

There was still a thirst for a defensive midfielder. They targeted Moises Caicedo, who had been performing well for Brighton, but lost out to Chelsea. Romero Rabia (Southampton), thought to be a Plan B, also lost out to Chelsea again.

Desperate, Liverpool turned to Endo. After stints with Shonan Belmare and Urawa Reds in the Japanese J-League, Endo made his European debut in 2018 with Belgian side Sint-Truiden. He immediately impressed and was loaned to Stuttgart the following year, before being granted a full transfer a year later.

Stuttgart had a lot of faith in him. From 2021 until last season, he captained Stuttgart despite being a Japanese player. A strong leader, Endo also wears the captain’s armband for the Japanese national team.

He switched to the English Premier League after being approached by Liverpool. He surprises by joining a big club in his 30s. The 12th Japanese player to play in the Premier League, Endo surpassed Shinji Okazaki, who came to England at 29, to become the oldest Japanese player to play in the Premier League.

Liverpool think highly of Endo. He wasn’t their first choice, but they’ve seen what he can do. Jürgen Klopp said of Endo: “He’s very experienced and he was captain of the Japanese national team. He’s a very good player and we’re very happy to have him.” He also praised his fluency in English and his attitude towards soccer.

Opinions are divided on the signing of Endo. Some are concerned about his age, as he is in his 30s. Klopp went on to praise Endo, saying that he was a “late bloomer”. “You know we don’t sign players in this age group,” he said, defending the need to sign Endo.

Expectations are high. “We didn’t want to lose Endo from Stuttgart, he’s so loved and respected,” Klopp said, “He was always on our list. He’s definitely the right player for us and I think he can help us straight away,” he said, hinting at an immediate sense of urgency.

On his arrival at Liverpool, Endo said: “It’s amazing. It’s always been a dream of mine to play in the Premier League, at a big club. I can’t wait to be in front of the Liverpool fans at Anfield. I’m a defensive-minded midfielder, so I’m going to help Liverpool defensively a lot, that’s my role.” 스포츠토토

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