By the time the team sheet of Villarreal was made known for their Champions League group game with Manchester United not many people would have heard of their winger Arnaut Danjuma, but that would soon shortly change. In truth here was a player who had already had scored a Champions League goal only weeks before in Villarreal’s draw with Atlanta, and is already taken LaLiga by storm were he has been nicknamed “Danjumagic” for his mesmerizing skills.
He grew up idolizing Cristiano Ronaldo and spoke before the game of his teams focus to outperform United on the biggest stage as the yellow submarines prepared to take on the Manchester United.
“To be really honest with you, I think we are going there to win. We’re not going to just participate. I’ll back my team, I’ll back myself and I’ll back the coach. I’ll back the entire staff. There’s no point going there if you’re not going to win”.
He played his part towards that running Diego Dalot of United ragged throughout the game getting an assist in a game which they deserved to win but ultimately ended up losing. His performance did not go unnoticed as he ended up with the Man of the match award. Not bad for a Champions League outing at Old Trafford. He has played at Old Trafford before with Bournemouth but had a goal ruled out for offside.
Arnaut Danjuma Groeneveld is a Nigerian-born Dutch professional born in Lagos to a Dutch father and a Nigerian mother. He moved to Netherland at the age of four and began his career with PSV Eindhoven academy. They weren’t convinced he was first team material and he moved to NEC of Belgium. It was here he started to show promise, scoring just once in his debut season and 14 in his second season. This was enough to earn him a move to Club Brugge with whom he won the Belgian Super Cup in 2018.
After one season with Brugge, Bournemouth were impressed with his talents and paid his transfer fee of 13million Pounds to get their man. He experienced life in the Premier League in 2019 making 14 appearances in what was an unsuccessful season as Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth were relegated that season. He remained and had a brilliant season for Bournemouth in the English Championship leading their charge for promotion to the Premier League. The Dutchman shone in the championship under managers Jason Tindall and Jonathan Woodgate, ending the campaign as top scorer of the Cherries with 17goals in 37 appearances. He scored in both legs of the playoff semifinal against Brentford as they lost 3-2 on aggregate ending their quest for top flight promotion. He won numerous awards including Championship player ofthe month in April 2021, being selected in the Championship, and was voted the Cherries' player of the year.
Following an unsuccessful attempt at promotion he wanted to a higher challenge. He turned down a handful of Premier League sides that wanted to sign him as he had his mind set to join the ambitious Villarreal.
“I’m a fairly intuitive person, so the moment Unai started speaking to me it just felt close to home, it felt natural, it felt good, it felt a logical next step in my career. Playing in the championship for another season, I just couldn’t do it.
“Maybe if we went up at Bournemouth, we could have had a different conversation, but I’m just very eager, vey determine to put myself on the highest platform possible.”
Bought by Villarreal for 21million Pounds in the summer transfer window, he has successfully Made the leap from The Championship to LaLiga. He has three goals in five games for the yellow submarines including one in the champions league against Atlanta on match day one.
His contract at Villarreal is till 2026, Liverpool were interested in him earlier in the summer and reports have it that they sent scouts to observe him closely at him at Old Trafford. It adds that he is viewed by the technical team as a long term successor to Sadio Mane who is yet to extend his current deal.
Asked if he would like to return to the premier league this what was he had to say
“I aim for the beat possible [accolades] in my career and play the highest platform of football. If that means the Champions league ii want to prove myself, if that means the premier league then that will be the premier league’.
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