The player confirmed that the Reds were showing an interest in him last year.
There is little, if any, doubt that Jurgen Klopp has been a sensational manager for Liverpool since he arrived on Merseyside during the 2015/16 campaign.
The German head coach has won the Premier League, the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup, the FA Cup, and the League Cup once each over the last eight years.
He has brought plenty of success to the club, including their first Premier League title, and deserves plenty of praise for the way he has got the team competing at the top of the game again.
Klopp’s most expensive Liverpool signings
Fee paid (via Transfermarkt)
Virgil van Dijk
Whilst the ex-Borussia Dortmund tactician has not been blessed with an unlimited transfer budget throughout his time in England so far, Klopp has been able to make a number of big-money signings to bolster his squad.
However, one lavish addition that the German boss will be thankful he did not go through with was the potential signing of Arnaut Danjuma from Villarreal in the summer of 2022.
Were Liverpool interested in Arnaut Danjuma?
Liverpool were keen on the Netherlands international that year as the player himself revealed that he had been told that Klopp and the Reds were tracking his performances for the Spanish side during the 2021/22 campaign.
The Daily Mail reported that Manchester United had been scouting the forward ahead of the summer transfer window in 2022 and claimed that the player had a release clause of £62m, which was included in his contract that was due to expire in 2026.
Their article claimed that Danjuma had earned comparisons to Paris Saint-Germain winger Kylian Mbappe due to his pace and direct play as a right-footed player who predominantly plays off the left side.
Klopp’s interest in the attacker came after his stunning displays for Villarreal throughout the 2021/22 season, as he showcased his ability as a big threat at the top end of the pitch.
Danjuma, who had been signed from Championship side Bournemouth in 2021, averaged a Sofascore rating of 6.97 across 23 LaLiga outings that term.
He started 17 of those matches and contributed with an impressive ten goals and three assists from a wide position, which is an average of one goal involvement every 1.31 games.
The Dutch wizard, who ex-Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips hailed as a “nightmare” for defenders, also proved his worth at Champions League level with six goals and one assist in ten starts for the Spanish outfit, which suggested that he was able to consistently deliver quality at the very top level.
This means that he ended the season with 16 goals and four assists in 27 starts across those two competitions and this shows that Danjuma was a constant threat for Villarreal in the final third with his ability to score and assist goals on a regular basis.
Who did Liverpool sign instead of Danjuma?
Liverpool and Klopp ultimately opted against a move for the ex-Cherries star and swooped to sign Darwin Nunez from Benfica to improve the attacking options at the club.
The Uruguay international enjoyed a respectable first season at Anfield as he plundered 15 goals and four assists in 42 matches for the club in all competitions, which included nine goals and three assists in 19 Premier League starts.
Nunez had a fair case to be frustrated with his teammates for his low assist tally as the 24-year-old attacker created 11 ‘big chances’ for his fellow attackers, only to be rewarded with three assists.
His form for the Reds last term came after he racked up an outstanding 34 goals and four assists in 41 matches in all competitions for Benfica throughout the 2021/22 campaign.
Whilst Nunez was unable to replicate his ridiculous scoring rate for the Portuguese side after his move to England, the former Almeria ace was still able to score and create goals at a respectable rate.
What happened to Danjuma?
Whereas, Danjuma’s 2021/22 form fell off a cliff as the former Bournemouth man struggled during the first half of the following season with Villarreal.
He scored two goals and failed to provide a single assist, along with zero ‘big chances’ created, in ten LaLiga matches, and that led to a loan move to Tottenham Hotspur for the second half of the campaign.
The 26-year-old scored one goal and only created one chance, which had an xG of 0.06, in nine Premier League outings for Spurs at the start of this year.
His dreadful form for Villarreal and Tottenham throughout the 2022/23 season, which included three goals and zero assists in 19 league matches, resulted in another loan move for the current campaign.
Everton completed the season-long loan signing of the Dutch international during the recent summer transfer window and the left winger has struggled since his move to the Toffees.
How much is Danjuma worth now?
At the time of writing (09/10/2023), FootballTransfers has placed his Expected Transfer Value (xTV) at €10.8m (£9.3m) and this is a staggering fall from the £62m release clause that he had at the time of Liverpool’s interest in his services.
Danjuma has not been able to recapture his immense form in the 2021/22 campaign and has not hit the ground running at Goodison Park this season.
The 26-year-old flop has scored two goals and failed to provide a single assist in nine appearances in all competitions for the Toffees so far, which includes one goal in seven Premier League outings.
He has averaged a dismal Sofascore rating of 6.69, which is the 14th-highest score within their squad, and created zero ‘big chances’ in those seven league games.
Danjuma was an unused substitute for their recent 3-0 win over Bournemouth and this illustrates just how poorly the last 12 months or so have gone for the attacker.
The former Villarreal star has gone from being linked with a move to Liverpool and being compared to Mbappe to sitting on the bench for 90 minutes for Everton, who are 16th in the Premier League table.
Therefore, Klopp and Liverpool avoided a big blunder by opting to go with Nunez ahead of Danjuma one year ago as the Uruguay international, despite not being as prolific as his Benfica days, has offered far more to the Reds than the Netherlands international has for Everton, or Spurs last season.