Liverpool have signed midfielder Wataru Endo from Stuttgart for a fee of around 19 million euros (£16.2 million), subject to a work permit and international clearance.
The 30-year-old Japan international has agreed to a four-year contract.
Liverpool have brought in Endo after missing out on Ecuador international Moises Caicedo and Belgian midfielder Romeo Lavia to Chelsea.
Endo can also play at centre-back but has been signed primarily as a central defensive midfielder.
Endo grew up watching the club back in his homeland of Japan and is now beyond excited to begin his Anfield journey after signing a long-term contract.
“It feels amazing,” he said. “It’s always been a dream to play in the Premier League and with one of the biggest clubs in the world. It’s a dream come true for me.
“I think I can help this club defensively, and I will have good organisation in the middle.”
“I’m very happy right now, and I’m so excited to join a big club in Liverpool,” Endo said in a statement.
“I play as a number six, and I’m a bit more of a defensive player. I think I can help this club defensively, and I will have good organisation in the middle. I think that’s my job.”
The signing of Endo, who captains the Japanese national team and had been the skipper of Stuttgart, follows the departures of ex-Reds midfielders Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Naby Keita, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain this summer.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has already secured reinforcements in the middle of the park, with new purchases Alexis MacAllister and Dominik Szoboszlai starting the opening weekend’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last Sunday.
“I’m really happy. Wataru is a really good player,” said Klopp. “He is very experienced and loves to work extremely hard.”
Endo, who has 50 caps for Japan, joined Stuttgart initially on a season-long loan in 2019 from Belgian club Sint-Truiden, before the deal was made permanent a year later.
“Both in sporting and human terms, we’re losing a very reliable player and captain in Wataru,” said Stuttgart manager Sebastian Hoeness.
“The important goals he scored are only part of the reason why he’s been so significant for us.
“The fact that he can fulfil his dream of playing in the Premier League at the age of 30 is also recognition for the club and the people who have accompanied him here. I wish him all the best.”