Can we share a secret, just between us as Villarreal friends? The Premier League thinks Arnaut Danjuma had a much better season than he actually did in Spain.
Ten goals (seven when you take out penalties) in the league coupled with three assists in less than 1500 minutes of Spanish top flight action is all well and good, don’t get me wrong.
But seven of his goals were scored in just three league matches: a brace against Real Betis in October, a hat trick against Granada in February, and a brace against a totally rotated Valencia side in April.
He made headlines with a tremendous Champions League campaign, and he is certainly very, very talented, an explosive winger who is good on the ball and has an eye for goal, but I do not think too many Villarreal fans think our offense will be crippled without him.
According to the oracle of European transfer news, Fabrizio Romano, West Ham want him to be one of their ‘statement’ signings for a bit less than 45m euros, though they haven’t approached personal terms yet with the player.
West Ham are progressing in talks with Villarreal to sign Danjuma. Work in progress for bit less than €45m, West Ham want him to be one of their statement signings. Personal terms, not discussed yet. #WHUFC— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 29, 2022
Villarreal are prepared to sign Umar Sadiq as replacement. pic.twitter.com/XfaBoRW8MZ
There are certainly likely to be different philosophies for just how much money we should hold out for, but I do not think there are too many Villarreal fans who will be devastated at his departure if the club makes a significant profit.
He is a good player but certainly not an irreplaceable one.
The replacing, however, is the part of Romano’s tweet that concerns me. Umar Sadiq is not a natural winger like Danjuma is, and while that probably makes him a better fit in a front two it really makes you wonder what we are going to do in the CF positions since we now have so many guys whose best place in a 442 might be those roles.
Sadiq has done very well in Segunda the last two seasons, but at age 24 he is still entirely unproven at a top flight level in any of the top leagues in Europe, and that raises very serious questions as to whether signing him would just be adding yet another underwhelming 9 to the roster.
You would think that one of these strikers has to be on his way out somewhere else. Paco Alcacer is a terrible fit for Emery’s system and has been low on confidence for over a year.
Boulaye Dia seems to only really be effective when he’s alongside the linkup play of Gerard Moreno, Jose Luis Morales can fill a striker role when called upon and we have to come that Gerard himself will be more healthy than he was last season.
Yes, a forward is departing in Danjuma but unless one of these other strikers heads out the door I would think the need on the left in a 442 is greater than the need up top.
However, all this is very speculative as a deal is far from done. Romano later tweeted that Danjuma is in no hurry to leave Villarreal if his personal terms are not met and would be happy to continue with us next season.
Danjuma’s camp remain ‘relaxed’ as player would be happy to continue at Villarreal next year if no agreement will be found. #WHUFC— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 30, 2022
West Ham were ready to pay €40m, but far away on personal terms.
Moyes, focused on top target Broja [no decision by Tuchel yet] and Lingard. pic.twitter.com/8Q5j86Ohlh
This stance from Danjuma gives Villarreal a lot of leverage in holding firm against West Ham or anyone else that comes for the player.
It will be a fascinating summer to see how Villarreal reinvests the money should this sale go through.
I appreciate what Danjuma has done for the club but if we turn this kind of profit this quickly while bolstering the player’s ability to make big money for himself elsewhere, I think that puts us in good stead to both continue to build the squad and attract other talented ambitious player in the future.