Crystal Palace were linked with a move for former Bournemouth winger Arnaut Danjuma over the summer, and the club’s hierarchy may be ruing not signing the 24-year-old just a few months on.
According to Sky Sports, the Eagles were amongst Danjuma’s potential suitors in the previous transfer window after he put in a string of impressive performances in the Championship last season.
However, despite Danjuma adding a further two strikes to his tally during the two-legged play-off semi-final against Brentford, his efforts weren’t enough to see off the capital club, meaning Bournemouth were consigned to another year outside of the Premier League.
It led to a tussle for his signature between multiple clubs, but it was Spanish side Villarreal who stumped up the £21.3m asking price to secure the wing wizard’s services, and he’s been in scintillating form ever since.
Since arriving in La Liga, Danjuma has quickly established himself as one of the division’s most exciting attacking talents, bagging four goals in just seven league games, and adding another strike and two assists in three Champions League outings.
His eye-catching performances at club level have also earned to versatile forward a recall to Louis van Gaal’s national team setup where he scored in the 6-0 thrashing of Gibraltar.
It was Danjuma’s first cap for the Oranje since 2018, but it’s unlikely to be his last after his standout showing from the substitutes bench earned glowing praise from the Dutch coach in his post-match interview.
“This was a spectacular substitute by Danjuma,” Van Gaal said. “He deserves to be praised because what he showed was very clever.
“On the left, we have plenty of options; on the right, we don’t. He deserves to be praised. Danjuma had nice, good dribbles. His fellow players were not quite ready for his hard crosses yet.”
Although Palace have made a promising start to the current campaign, no winger within Patrick Vieira’s first-team squad has hit the back of the net from open play.
Wilfried Zaha has bagged two penalties, while Jordan Ayew continues to search for his first goal since November 2020, and although Michael Olise has notched his first goal for the Eagles, he prefers to play through the middle.
Therefore, not signing the £22.5m-rated Danjuma will surely have to go down as one of Steve Parish’s biggest transfer mistakes during his tenure as Palace chairman.
The versatile forward could have been a mainstay of the south London outfit’s attack for many years to come, but now Vieira is left still searching for the final piece of his forward line.