Arnaut Danjuma to Manchester United: best position, Dutchman’s verdict and Villarreal’s stance
Villarreal star Arnaut Danjuma continues to be linked with Manchester United, and here we take a look at the situation.
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The Red Devils need new signings this summer as Erik ten Hag looks to turn things around next season.
It’s logical that United would be linked with many of the best Dutch players, given the nationality of their new boss, but there is more to it when it comes to Danjuma.
The winger has attracted interest from United since well before ten Hag’s arrival, and they missed the chance to sign him last season.
The Dutch forward went on to join Villarreal last summer, but he is already being heavily linked with a move away.
United, along with Liverpool have been linked, and here we look at the latest.
After missing out on Danjuma last summer, United have kept track of the winger’s progress at Villarreal.
It has been a successful season for the 25-year-old, who became Villarreal’s all-time leading scorer in the Champions League in one season.
It wasn’t a perfect season for Danjuma by any means, struggling from a reocurring foot injury, which saw him start just 17 La Liga games.
But he still scored 16 goals and assisted four across all competitions.
What Danjuma has said
Danjuma addressed the transfer rumours recently, giving an interview earlier this week.
“I’m always as honest as possible about it: I’ve never had contact with clubs or anything like that during the season,” Danjuma told Ziggo Sport.
“I always know about my situation after the season; I don’t want to be involved in it at all during the season. But I have been informed that Liverpool were following me closely.
“I will never lie: I think it’s a bad quality if you’re not ambitious. And if a club came along that offered me a higher platform to play on sport-wise, I would always have to consider it.”
It’s believed Danjuma has a release clause worth £45million, and Villarreal are likely to demand that value.
The winger became the club’s second most expensive signing in their history last season, spending around £20m to secure his services from Bournemouth.
After just one year, the Yellows will not want to lose him, but they are unlikely to lose too much sleep if his release clause is activated.
Quite simply, that’s because they can more than double their investment in the space of a year.
As for striking a deal below the release clause, Villarreal are unlikely to do so.
They could lose star defender Pau Torres for around £50million this summer - perhaps even to United - and the Castellon club are doing well financially.
Villarreal have earned more than £50million in prize money from European competition alone in the last two seasons, winning the Europa League and reaching the Champions League semi-finals.
And their new stadium renovations will be paid for and more by the CVC agreement which saw most La Liga clubs pocket a very large sum of money.
They don’t need to agree any cut-price deals, despite having to settle for Conference League football for next season.
Where does Danjuma fit in?
Danjuma is rather versatile across the front line, though he does his best work on the left.
United could be pretty crowded on that side, when you account for Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, who have done well in that position.
This season, Danjuma has actually scored most of his goals while playing centrally due to Gerard Moreno’s injury issues.
Though, at times, Gerard has often lined up on the right anyway, rotating with Danjuma - or whoever is playing - in the striker role during the game.
Despite occasional scoring success in a central role, which will give ten Hag encouragement, he also needs a striker this summer, and Danjuma has not always impressed there.
Villarreal struggled with their shape, at times, with Danjuma in that central role.
As a natural winger, he can look out of place in a central role, drifting wide, and his strength is certainly not holding the ball up.
That’s something he has been asked to do as a lone striker at Villarreal this season due to injury issues.
There is no doubting that Danjuma is a far better winger, but that ability to play centrally when needed should offer United encouragement.