Shopping in the Championship isn’t as frowned upon as it once was. There have been plenty of success stories in recent years. Furthermore, Liverpool have made a bit of a habit out of signing players from recently relegated clubs so moving for a player direct from England’s second tier isn’t beyond the realms of possibility, so long as they’re a good fit.
I imagine it is why the links to Bournemouth forward Arnaut Danjuma weren’t immediately dismissed.
The 24-year-old scored 17 times last season and chipped in with seven assists. According to Marca, he’s available for around £20million and Liverpool are rivalling Villarreal for his signature.
On paper, he looks like an intriguing option. He’s clearly settled into life in England, he’s versatile and there’s still a lot of scope for him to improve. Pep Lijnders also knows him fairly well having been his manager for that stint at NEC. Danjuma isn’t going to be on huge wages either.
There’s definitely enough there to make a case for him to be the fifth choice attacker. He’s not in the same sphere as the famed front three and Diogo Jota, but he’s going to be an upgrade on Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri without breaking the bank.
After all, that is what is required right now.
However, Danjuma is a bit of a deceptive one.
At first glance, he profiles fairly well. He’s a goalscorer, he’s really direct when in possession and he’s always eager to hit the penalty area whenever possible. Some of the goals he scored last season are very Sadio Mane-esque in the way he cuts in from the left and shifts the ball onto his right before getting the shot off with no real backlift.
Marca have linked Liverpool with Arnaut Danjuma. His headline numbers look decent. Over 20 goal involvements for Bournemouth last season in the Championship and he's only 24. pic.twitter.com/HlIJBDH0G6
— Sam McGuire (@SamMcGuire90) August 4, 2021
Liverpool rarely sign players off the back of their best ever season. They also work with larger sample sizes. Both of those points work against the Bournemouth man.
Then you delve a little deeper and look at some of his underlying numbers such as expected goals and the link becomes a little more confusing.
His expected goals total for the season was just above seven meaning he outperformed that metric by ten – that just isn’t sustainable. You never buy a player who is overperforming. They often end up in the flop category after failing to hit the heights of yesteryear. If you want success, you buy undervalued assets with scalable output. Those on the brink of taking their game to the next level. That is how you get your value for money. That is how you find your next Mane, Jota and Mohamed Salah.
You don’t do it by spending £20million on an attacker with an expected goal per 90 average of 0.23. It’s why the links to Dunjuma make very little sense. He’s not being dismissed because he’s playing in the Championship, he’s being dismissed because he’s doesn’t meet the criteria.