Football Digest: Liverpool 'embarrassed' by transfer rejections
Liverpool have until midday on Friday to register Wataru Endo as their player if he is to feature at Anfield over the weekend. The midfielder is in the process of finalising his move from Stuttgart but is in a race against the clock if he is to make his Premier League debut against Bournemouth.
After acknowledging that Saudi departures Fabinho and Jordan Henderson needed to be replaced, the Reds had hoped to complete their midfield rebuild last week when lodging bids for Moises Caicedo, and then Romeo Lavia. However, the highly-rated duo both opted to head to Stamford Bridge to be a part of Chelsea’s new project.
The double blow has prompted Liverpool to quickly weigh up alternatives, with Endo a surprise target. A £15.5million agreement has been struck for the Stuttgart captain, with the player keen to make the move and fulfil his dream of playing in the Premier League.
The Japan international is viewed as a high-quality squad player who can provide defensive know-how in midfield, as well as experience behind the scenes after Fabinho, Henderson and James Milner’s exits. But Endo’s impact may not be seen this weekend against Bournemouth if Liverpool cannot accelerate the signing.
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If the 30-year-old is to feature against Andoni Iraola’s side then they must ensure that he is registered before midday on Friday. It is hard to imagine that Jurgen Klopp would intend on throwing his new signing in at the deep end and starting him against the Cherries, but a late appearance off of the bench cannot be ruled out.
That would allow him to help get adjusted before Liverpool face a daunting trip to St James’ Park to take on Newcastle a week this Sunday. The Magpies hammered five past Aston Villa in their opening match of the season and are formidable on home soil.
Liverpool’s midfield looked somewhat unbalanced in their draw at Chelsea last weekend with a trio of Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szobsalai and Cody Gakpo. There was an evident lack of a natural No 6 to hold down the fort when players pushed forward. Thus, the sooner that Endo can be available, the better.
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Stuttgart head coach Sebastian Hoeness revealed how he was disappointed that his club captain is Liverpool-bound when speaking on Thursday, explaining: “Wataru Endo has been cleared by the club for talks.
“He flew to England for a medical check and wasn’t in training today. At the age of 30, he now has the opportunity to join Liverpool in the Premier League. It’s a dream of his. From the club’s point of view, we speak of an economically good package.
“From a sporting point of view, of course, I’m not thrilled. Wataru is an important player both athletically and personally. He’s our captain. He has made 99 of 102 possible Bundesliga games. He was always there in important moments.”
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