VfB Stuttgart sporting director Fabian Wohlgemuth has now opened up on the shock negotiations that secured Wataru Endo his transfer to Liverpool in the summer sales.

The Anfield outfit splashed £16m to lure the 30-year-old to Merseyside in August as Jurgen Klopp rebuilt his midfield. Liverpool believed Endo had the potential to help replace Fabinho and Jordan Henderson after Chelsea beat them to sign Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia.

Endo arrived in the Premier League on a four-year contract after spending the last four years with Stuttgart. The 52-cap Japan anchor enjoyed 133 appearances in all competitions during his time at the MHPArena. He also offered 15 goals and 12 assists as a defensive midfielder.

VfB Stuttgart director Fabian Wohlgemuth opens up on Wataru Endo transfer to Liverpool
Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Liverpool signed Endo after his best Bundesliga campaign

But what convinced Klopp to sign Endo was his 439 duels won in the Bundesliga through the 2022/23 term. Only Jonas Hector (473), Jude Bellingham (463) and Philipp Hoffman (463) won a higher volume than Endo. He even also ranked seventh for distance covered (356km).

Last term was Endo’s best campaign in the German top-flight at Stuttgart with five goals and five assists. He had also served as Die Roten’s captain since the start of the 2021/22 season. Yet Wohlgemuth admits Liverpool surprised Stuttgart when they targeted Endo’s transfer.

Stuttgart did not expect the Reds to target Endo’s transfer

VfB Stuttgart director Fabian Wohlgemuth opens up on Wataru Endo transfer to Liverpool
Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Wohlgemuth has now revealed that Stuttgart did not view Liverpool as a threat in their bid to keep Endo. Instead, the Reds caught Die Roten by surprise when they submitted an offer just hours after the Japan captain’s agents first informed the MHPArena natives of their interest.

The chance to head to Anfield then convinced Endo that it was time to leave Die Roten for a new test. So, Wohlgemuth reached an agreement ‘relatively quickly’ with Liverpool sporting director Jorg Schmadtke once Stuttgart accepted that they had to sanction Endo’s transfer.

“Wataru is a player that we actually didn’t want to let go,” Wohlgemuth has told Bild. “To be honest, we didn’t have Liverpool FC on our list as an interested party. We were informed by the player’s 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 to Jorg Schmadtke with our revised financial demands.”

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