VfB Stuttgart sporting director Fabian Wohlgemuth has admitted that they “didn’t want” to let Liverpool newbie Wataru Endo leave the club in the summer.
Liverpool spent around £150m on new midfielders during the summer window as they recruited Endo, Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai and Ryan Gravenberch.
Endo emerged as a shock target after Liverpool missed out on Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia. The Premier League giants paid around £16m to sign him from Bundesliga outfit Stuttgart.
The 30-year-old shone for Stuttgart as they narrowly avoided relegation from the Bundesliga. He grabbed five goals and four assists in his 33 league outings.
Wohlgemuth has now revealed that Liverpool’s interest in Endo came as a shock and they “had no choice but to agree” to let the midfielder leave.
“Wataru is a player that we actually didn’t want to let go,” Wohlgemuth told BILD.
“To be honest, we didn’t have Liverpool FC on our list as an interested party. We were informed by the players’ advisors about Liverpool FC’s interest a few hours before the offer was received.
“Wataru himself really wanted to take this step regardless of our offer to extend the contract.
“Because the facts were on the table, we had no choice but to agree with Jörg Schmadtke (Liverpool sporting director) with our revised financial demands. In the end, we came to an agreement relatively quickly in the negotiations.”
After Endo completed his move to Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp lauded the experienced midfielder, who has a “sensational attitude”.
“I’m really happy. Wataru is a really good player,” Klopp said in an interview for Liverpool’s official website.
“I know in this world of football how it goes and stuff like this, but have a look, have a look, because he’s a really good player. Experienced player, captain of Stuttgart, captain of Japan, speaks good English, nice fella, family man, machine on the pitch, good footballer on top of that, sensational attitude.
“So, I’m really happy. He’s a good footballer, very experienced and loves to work extremely hard. If he’s not 30, firstly, I am not sure we get him. Second, he was always on my list, just usually we don’t sign players of this age group.
“He is obviously a top fit and we will have a lot of fun with him. I’m really sure he can help us immediately, which is super-cool because the season already started. So, he will show how good he is on the pitch and I can’t wait to have him around.”
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