Mon 23 January 2023 7:00, UK

Villarreal coach Quique Setien admits that Arnaut Danjuma is in ‘advanced talks’ to leave the La Liga outfit as he closes in on a return to the Premier League with Everton, speaking to the Castellon Plaza. 

With Saturday’s dispiriting 2-0 defeat to a Jarrod Bowen-inspired West Ham United side still fresh in the minds – Everton looking about as threatening as a Pomeranian guard dog during an insipid display at the London Stadium – Danjuma’s impending arrival feels like a major boon for Frank Lampard’s ever-diminishing prospects. 

The Toffees looked destined to miss out on their top attacking targets this month; a lack of transfer funds restricting the club to short-term loan deals. All the while, their relegation rivals – such as Southampton and Wolves – invest heavily on exciting additions. 

Photo by Jan Kruger – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

So there was considerable surprise – and no little relief – when it transpired that Villarreal were willing to let Danjuma leave on loan without including an option or obligation-to-buy clause in his contract (Fabrizio Romano). 

The Dutch international, The Sun say, could earn £100,000-a-week at Goodsion Park. Everton may also pay a sizeable loan fee of £2.5 million. When you consider that Villarreal value Danjuma at around £35 million, however, those sizeable wages should not distract from what has the makings of a major coup from a club who’s recruitment record contains more high-profile ‘misses’ than Michael Bay’s filmography. 

A prolific, versatile attacker who, on paper, looks a massive upgrade on those currently at Lampard’s disposal.

Everton are close to signing Arnaut Danjuma from La Liga outfit Villarreal

“The club has not yet officially communicated anything to me,” says Setien, the former Barcelona and Real Betis coach.  

“But it is true that the talks were advanced. It’s logical, if he’s thinking of leaving, that we do not count on him on a day-to-day basis. His head is not there right now to compete with us.” 

Danjuma was conspicuous by his absence as Villarreal beat Girona 1-0 on Sunday. He scored 16 goals in 32 games during his debut season in Spain. Danjuma even netted against Atalanta, Bayern Munich and Juventus as a side then-coached by Unai Emery reached the semi-finals of the Champions League. 

Everton appear to have fought off competition, meanwhile, from the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa. Danjuma’s former employers AFC Bournemouth showed an interest too.

“I’ve worked with him. Arnie knows what I think of him. He’s a fantastic talent,” Cherries boss Gary O’Neill tells the Daily Echo

“He was excellent for us while he was here, especially towards the end of his spell. I’m sure wherever he goes to next will be pleased to have him. He’s an attacking talent.” 

The Cherries have already offset the disappointment at missing out on Danjuma. Dango Ouattara, one of the biggest talents in Ligue 1, arrived from Lorient late last week.

Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

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