Premier League • England

Liverpool hone in on ‘perfect’ Villarreal star as Edwards reaches Raphinha realisation

Arnaut Danjuma celebrates after scoring for Villarreal against Atalanta in Champions League

Liverpool are ready to walk away from a potential move to sign Raphinha in January – and are now being backed to secure the signing of Villarreal star Arnaut Danjuma instead.

The future of Brazil superstar Raphinha has claimed plenty of column inches in recent weeks. Liverpool are long-term admirers of the player, while reports on Christmas Eve claimed a deal to take him to Bayern Munich has been agreed. That link to Bavaria was countered by a strong angle from the Leeds end over the Brazilian winger’s stay.

Despite this, speculation over Raphinha has continued to rage. Indeed, reports last week claimed Chelsea are ready to join the race to sign him. And in our Paper Talk it speculated the Blues are willing to shift three players in order to make room for the Brazilian.

Furthermore, his agent, Deco – the former Chelsea player – retains strong links at Stamford Bridge. As such, he’s reportedly keen for his client to move there.

Truth be told, it’s easy to see why the vultures are circling for Raphinha. His eight goals in 17 appearances this season has lit up Leeds and earmarked him as the stand-out player in Marcelo Bielsa’s side.

However, prising Raphinha away from Leeds mid-season looks to be a near-impossible task. Indeed, a report recently claimed the Brazilian has ‘no intention’ of quitting Elland Road mid season and is intent on seeing out the season at Leeds.

Raphinha in no hurry to leave Leeds

As such, the Daily Express claims Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards now accepts signing him this month will be mission impossible.

One man who does seem far more obtainable though is Villarreal winger Danjuma.

Liverpool target Bowen, Raphinha

Liverpool target Bowen, Raphinha

Liverpool's search for Mane and Salah's successors sees them target two from the Prem.

He’s a player Edwards also much admires and has been keeping a close eye on.

And while Villarreal also won’t want to consider his sale mid-season, the feeling is he would be generally easier to prise away.

The Netherlands winger has an impressive nine goals and three assists from 18 appearances this season. That tally includes four goals and one assist in six Champions League games.

Liverpool told Danjuma would fit in nicely

Pundit Paul Robinson reckons Danjuma would be an excellent addition for Liverpool and understands why they are tracking him.

“I have been really impressed with him at Villarreal,” he told Football Insider.

“He’s been brilliant under Unai Emery in a team that has done really well in recent years.

“I don’t think he is a player who would improve Liverpool’s starting XI straight away though.

“There is a lot of games for a club like Liverpool though so he would have a role to play. He would not be one of the first names on the team sheet. But he’s certainly a player who would add value to their squad.

“I could see him fitting into Klopp’s style of play. I think he’d do well.”

Danjuma’s contract expires in June 2026.

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