In an era of ferocious pressing when the needs of the collective are valued above the whims of the individual, reported Liverpool target Arnaut Danjuma is built to thrive.
During a stunning 2020/21 campaign, the Bournemouth winger struck fear in the hearts of stupefied full-backs, his frightening blend of speed, skill, elegance and brutal efficiency taking the Championship by storm.
Danjuma dragged an underperforming Cherries side kicking and screaming into the play-offs with 17 goals and eight assists and, although Emi Buendia and Ivan Toney may have something to say about it, there’s an argument the dazzling Dutchman was the best player in the league from February to June.
And while Bournemouth may not be playing Premier League football this season – defeated by Brentford in the play-off semi-finals – the same can’t be said about Danjuma.
The former Club Brugge man has already admitted he has little appetite for midweek trips to Peterborough and Millwall – not to mention the proverbial cold Tuesday night at Stoke – and would welcome the opportunity to strut his stuff in the division above.
“I have never hidden the fact I am ambitious. If something good comes up, I will always consider it,” said Danjuma, who has been linked with a potential £35 million move to Aston Villa or Southampton.
“I want to play as high as possible. If I’m honest, I don’t see myself playing in the Championship for another year.”
Could Danjuma join Liverpool as the ‘new Sadio Mane’?
In April, then-Bournemouth boss Jonathan Woodgate talked up Danjuma’s work rate, insisting his willingness to run through brick walls in search of three points could carry him right to the top of the game.
And with Marca today reporting none other than Liverpool have expressed an interest, Danjuma may soon be competing for a place in Jurgen Klopp’s XI with Sadio Mane – the Senegalese superstar Woodgate compared the Bournemouth star to just weeks ago.
“The form he’s in at the minute – (Danjuma) can do what he wants because he’s starting to learn the defensive side of the game,” said the former England international, via the Bournemouth Echo.
“That’s important for wingers these days. If you watch the top wingers in the world – look at (Sadio) Mane at Liverpool, how hard he works going back and forth and gets goals. Arnie is doing that.
“When your team is struggling, they’ve got their backs to the wall and it’s a 0-0 game, Arnie will produce something out of nothing.”
Mane will turn 30 before this season is out and, with his contract due to expire in 2023, Jurgen Klopp will soon start planning for life without the Premier League and Champions League winner.
As Gini Wijnaldum, Steven Gerrard and even Jordan Henderson have discovered, Fenway Sports Group rarely bends to the whims of a player over the age of 30.
Danjuma, like Diogo Jota before him, would be a key cog in the Anfield succession plan. A player perfectly suited to form part of the present while moulding the future.