The truth behind the transfer of Wataru Endo, behind the too-hard negotiations… A talented agent reveals, “That’s why I can’t quit my agent. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The truth behind the transfer of Wataru Endo, behind the too-hard negotiations… A talented agent reveals, “That’s why I can’t quit my agent.

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Mr. Takashi Endo, agent of Wataru Endo, answered our questions. His soft-spoken tone was impressive.

He said, “A top European club paid 3 billion yen for him, who is over 30 years old. I felt firsthand that the value of Japanese players had risen to this level.

Takashi Endo, 51, is the president of Universal Sports Japan Corporation, which manages soccer players. He refers, of course, to Wataru Endo (30), captain of the Japanese national soccer team.

On August 18, Endo’s transfer to Liverpool, a prestigious club in the English Premier League, came as a shock to all of Japan. Endo was at the very forefront of the negotiations, and worked hard to organize them. (All statements in parentheses below are Endo’s.)

Endo said, “I had originally told Wataru that the only club I would challenge next would be one of the top clubs in the world. Our former club, Stuttgart in the German First Division, was one of the top clubs in Europe in terms of attendance, so there was no need for us to rush out. So we waited anyway. I told Wataru that if we were going to make a move, it would be in late August, after the transfer market closed.

Endo’s connections are extensive. Using his network of information, he was informed in August that Liverpool had Endo on their “large list” (a list of players likely to be acquired). Then, on August 14, another player who was also on the large list was transferred to another team. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity had arrived. However, Endo was not in a hurry.

Of course, I had given Liverpool the information about the sailing,” Endo said. But, as I mentioned earlier, we were in no hurry to make the move. It may sound strange, but there is a clear “pecking order” within the club. It is not clear if a player is a regular player or if he has been selected to represent his country, etc. …… These things will change your position after you join the club.
There were other odds as well. Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool’s coach, is German. In addition, the sports director was also German. I thought this relationship would work positively.

At the end of September, he released his book “Shogun wa Sleepless” (Tokuma Shoten). At the publication event, he talked about the appeal of the book.

The offer soon came in from Liverpool, and late at night on August 17, Endo was found at a hotel along the Mersey River, about 2 km from Liverpool’s home base. Negotiations continued throughout the night and were successfully completed on August 18, resulting in the signing of a long-term contract with a duration of four years, which is unusual for a 30-year-old player.

Endo immediately started playing in the game on the 19th. He took the pitch at the sacred Anfield Stadium. This was one of Endo’s dreams.

A Japanese player is needed and plays for one of the world’s top clubs. I got goosebumps watching him play. At lunch the day before the game, coach Klopp came all the way to see me and said, ‘Thank you for bringing a good player. I was surprised (laughs).”

As a popular agent, Endo’s work is extremely demanding. Endo usually works from his office in Shinagawa, Tokyo. He is in constant contact with clubs in Japan and abroad, never neglecting to build relationships to obtain information and to update his knowledge of the legal and tax systems in each country. He also checks on the games of the players he is in charge of, so he spends more than 16 hours a day at work, going to bed after 5:00 a.m. “What makes me happiest,” he says, “is when I get to see the players.

What makes me happiest is when the players are happy,” he says. Especially when, as in the case of the recent sailing, the players are suddenly able to build a career that is even more of a surprise than they had imagined. When that happens, the players, their families, and everyone around them are grateful. There is nothing more rewarding than that.

He’s a professional negotiator, and he’s used to getting a response.

A soccer agent does not have a clean image. To put it bluntly, they are more like “money-grubbers” and “money-grubbers.

For example, Mino Raiola (54 years old), a big-name agent who passed away last year, demanded 41 million pounds (about 7.3 billion yen), including fees, for the transfer of Paul Pogba of France to Manchester United in 2004. Perhaps it is because of such a huge amount of money, agents are often spoken of with a dirty image.

Certainly, there may be such an impression. However, in my opinion, a good agent is someone who can make a player’s ideal career come true. Not all players can move to Liverpool, although Wataru has achieved success through his own exceptional efforts. But each player has his or her own envisioned soccer life. I believe it is in the nature of an agent’s job to listen to their ideals and create the best possible options and environment, with a view to compensation, salary, and sometimes even a future that extends beyond the end of their professional career.

He says that there were times when he felt his life was in danger as he engaged in tough negotiations, putting the players first.

It was more than 20 years ago,” he says, “when I was negotiating with an Italian club, we were on the verge of a fight. The president of the other club told me to be careful on the streets at night (laughs). (Laughs.) But it was my job, too, and I couldn’t back down. The agent business is very rewarding, including all of the cut and thrust.

Endo smiled as he said this. Many great players will be joining the top ranks of the world’s top teams under Endo’s leadership in the years to come.

Takashi Endo: Born in Tokyo in May 1972. After working for the prestigious Premier League club Arsenal, he became the first Japanese to be licensed as a certified player’s agent by the English Football Association. Started the agent business.’ In 2005, he established Universal Sports Japan Inc. In ’22, he formed a capital alliance with Osens Law Offices and started a general sports agent business. In September of this year, he published his first book, “Agents Never Sleep” (Tokuma Shoten).

  • PHOTO Takero Yui

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