Arnaut Danjuma was one of the standout players in the English Championship in the 20-21 season, with 17 goals and 7 assists in 35 league matches. This was a massive step up from his performance in the previous season in the Premier League, where he failed to register a single goal or assist in 14 games, as Bournemouth were relegated from the top-flight.
Often starting on the left side of midfield or as a left winger in a front three, the Nigeria-born Dutchman is right footed, and likes to cut inside from the wing. His strong dribbling ability and pace earned him plenty of plaudits this season, as he won Bournemouth’s player of the year award, as they reached the playoff semi-finals after finishing 6th in the league.
Unai Emery is right to prioritise a left winger in this summer window. Whilst Moi Gomez is a reliable performer when called upon, the left side of the attack is significantly weaker in terms of goal threat than the right-hand side, where Samu Chukwueze and Gerard Moreno have that position covered nicely. Danjuma can also add variety to an attack which, barring Gerard, has at times looked stagnant last season. Taking no credit away from Gerard’s efforts in front of goal, relying on one player to both create and score the majority of the team’s goals is a bad strategy, especially in the Champions League.
Moi Gomez scored 4 times and averaged 0.7 shots per game last season, whilst Danjuma averaged 2.1 shots per game. This significant increase in goal threat would benefit the team massively, especially in games where Villarreal struggled this season against deep blocks. For example, in the 2-1 loss away at Deportivo Alaves, there were only 2 shots attempted from the midfield; Danjuma can provide a more direct, dynamic option which can bring the play further up the pitch and launch more attempts on goal.
The only question mark over Danjuma is whether he can replicate his form from the English Championship into the Spanish top flight and Champions League. Whilst these competitions are a step up in quality, the Championship is renowned for developing attacking players, and helping them improve on the physical side of the game. Only being 24 years old, Danjuma has a lot of time to develop without the pressure of carrying the team and can be given time to settle.
Whilst this opening bid of £13m was rejected, Bournemouth would find it tough to say no to much more than that; £17m or so should secure the transfer, and in both the short and long term, this could prove to be a very smart signing.