Didi Hamann claims Liverpool were blessed to miss out on 22y/o as they signed ‘class act’ instead

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Didi Hamann has claimed that Liverpool were blessed to miss out on one of their main transfer targets last summer, as they swiftly went and signed a ‘class act’ instead.

Two days before our opening Premier League match against Chelsea, the Reds had agreed a £111m fee with Brighton for Moises Caicedo, only for the Blues to hijack the deal and sign him for £115m instead.

Far from wallowing in self-pity, though, the Merseysiders snapped up Wataru Endo from Stuttgart for £16m a few days later, and the Japan captain’s adjustment to the English top flight hasn’t come as a major shock to the ex-LFC midfielder.

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Speaking about our number 3 to the Liverpool Echo, Hamann said: “He hasn’t surprised me. When he came, you don’t always need the big names. maybe it was a blessing not to get Caicedo for £100-odd million because I knew what a good player [Endo] is. He kept a struggling side together.

“I said all along, I think he will surprise a few people because he’s very disciplined, technically very gifted, two-footed, and an absolute team player. I’m not surprised at all.

“It took a few weeks or a few months to get into the rhythm, maybe to get used to the pace of the Premier League, but no, he hasn’t surprised me at all. He’s a class act.”

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It’d be fair to say that not too many Liverpool fans would’ve had Endo shortlisted as a prospective signing at the start of last summer, but then-sporting director Jorg Schmadtke knew what he was doing by bringing in the Japanese midfielder.

The 31-year-old has been a largely rock-solid presence in the number 6 role, and even though his levels have dipped in recent weeks after a tiring season, he’s still proven to be well worth the £16m investment, not least for how his presence has enabled Alexis Mac Allister to thrive in a more advanced role.

By contrast, Chelsea haven’t yet had value for money from Caicedo, although his recent displays have greatly improved in tandem with his team’s overall form as they make a late dash for a potential Europa League place.

Only three players to have started a Premier League match for Liverpool this term have won more tackles per game than Endo’s 1.5, while just four can boast a passing success rate superior to his 87.9% (WhoScored).

Hamann’s initial faith in the Reds’ number 3 has proven to be fully justified, and with the benefit of hindsight, the club’s hierarchy will be very glad that they swooped for him for just under £100m less than that the 22-year-old cost at Stamford Bridge.

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