Premier League • England

Liverpool forward hunt offered ray of hope over double-your-money LaLiga deal

Arnaut Danjuma and Alberto Moreno in action for Villarreal

If Liverpool are to offset the absences of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane to AFCON this month, they will have to pay big for their La Liga-based target, per a report.

The 2-2 draw with Chelsea could be Salah and Mane’s last matches for Liverpool until early-mid February. The pair have left to join up with Egypt and Senegal respectively ahead of the AFCON tournament in Cameroon.

The final and third-place matches will be played on February 6, meaning the pair – along Guinea’s Naby Keita – could be absent for up to five weeks.

That has led to speculation Liverpool could dip into the market at a crucial time in the season.

The Reds are at risk of losing pace with runaway leaders Manchester City. Furthermore, both legs of their EFL Cup semi-final clash with Arsenal will take place while their African trio are away.

As such, ex-Bournemouth and current Villarreal winger, Arnaut Danjuma, has emerged on their radar.

The 24-year-old Dutchman only joined the Yellow Submarine from Bournemouth last summer in a deal worth approximately €25m.

Champions League showings see value soar

But since arriving, Danjuma’s stock has soared, boosted by his nine goals and three assists across all competitions. Even more impressive is the fact four of those goals came in the Champions League.

Now, Football Espana (citing Spanish outlet AS), have shed light on the situation.

Firstly, they acknowledge the reports that have linked Jurgen Klopp’s side with Danjuma. They then describe Villarreal as ‘extremely reluctant’ to sell their star forward just six months after his arrival.

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However, the round figure of €50m is touted as potentially being enough to twist their arm. A double-your-money deal would be difficult for any club to turn down just six months on.

Whether Liverpool would be prepared to bid that high for a player who may not start once Salah and Mane return remains to be seen.

Liverpool have been characterised by smart navigation through the transfer windows in recent years. Such an extravagant expenditure to fix a temporary issue may not be in their best long-term interest – even with Danjuma impressing in Spain.

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Klopp wants rid of expensive flop – report

Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp has seen enough from one Liverpool star and has ‘ordered him to begin to look for a new team’ ahead of a summer switch, per a report.

Spanish outlet El Nacional state Klopp and Liverpool are prepared to admit defeat over £52.75m man Naby Keita.

They state Keita ‘will’ be among Liverpool’s departures next summer. Klopp is apparently behind the decision, with the German ‘ordering’ Keita to ‘begin to look for a new team’. Their headline also reads Klopp ‘doesn’t want him in Liverpool’ any more.

Keita’s contract expires in the summer of 2023. If the Reds have no desire to offer an extension, selling next summer would make make sense if they are determined to recoup a sizeable fee.

From the player’s end, Keita is stated to be accepting of his fate. The article notes he has ‘begun studying the calls’ his agent has received regarding his future.

A fee in the region of €30m (approx. £25m) is listed as required to seal a deal and West Ham, Bayern Munich, AC Milan and Roma are all namechecked as potential suitors. However, it is Barcelona who are deemed to be in ‘pole position’ at present.

Xavi’s side may be in need of a direct replacement for Frenkie de Jong if the Dutchman departs. At 26, Keita is deemed a worthy successor and his all-action play-style has caught manager Xavi’s eye.