Liverpool are reportedly “following” Villarreal’s Dutch winger Arnaut Danjuma, with a view to replace the outgoing Mane.
What’s the word?
That’s according to Fabrizio Romano, who claims Liverpool have been following the versatile forward since January.
“Danjuma, this boy from Villarreal, he played number nine this season,” he revealed on the ‘Here We Go’ podcast.
“He did really great with Villarreal, he has a release clause in his contract it’s around €45m (£38m), maybe a bit more, and so could be an opportunity in the market.
“Liverpool have been following him since January, let’s see if they will jump into it.”
Possessing a release clause in his contract of £38m, Klopp could be planning a coup for the 25-year-old, who is available for relatively cheap.
With Sadio Mane reportedly ready to exit Anfield, this move could offer a replacement with all the potential to surpass the Senegalese star. Darwin Nunez is also touted as another player suggested to replace him.
Sadio Mane replacement?
The comparisons can instantly be drawn between the two due to their natural inclination to play off the left wing, however despite this both have largely featured as their clubs number nine this season.
In fact, the comparisons only continue when delving into the underlying stats. Mane possesses an extraordinary amount of touches in the oppositions penalty area, and a very high non-penalty expected goals and assists per 90. Coincidentally, as per FBref these are two of Danjuma’s strengths, as he ranks in the 93rd percentile for the former, and the 89th percentile for the latter.
The price should be another factor that Klopp could consider when aiming for the Netherlands international, as his release clause offers great value in a market is so often dictated by astronomical asking prices.
To invest in Danjuma would also be to receive a player who has plied their trade in one of Europe’s other top leagues, yet returns already having had a positive experience in English football with Bournemouth.
For Villarreal this season, the £45m-rated ace recorded a respectable 13 goal contributions in 23 games in the league, alongside another seven in 11 Champions League games. These are similar to Mane’s stats when he first moved to Liverpool before Klopp made his numbers increase exponentially.
Former Premier League striker Kevin Phillips was full of praise for the Nigeria-born winger in January when the Reds were initially linked, stating that “on his day he is a nightmare for defenders. He can create and score goals. He can hurt any defence with his pace and directness”.
For the price that the release clause will demand, this opportunity in the market represents the perfect chance for Klopp to sign another talented player for under his market value and catapult their careers.
His versatility also makes him the perfect Mane replacement, and in no time it will be like he never left if Liverpool swoop for Danjuma.