Everton cannot seem to catch a break.
After barely escaping relegation last season, they had to sell their most prized asset, Richarlison, to fellow Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur over the summer.
Richarlison had been instrumental in the club’s bid to secure safety and had been a major source of goals, so replacing him was always going to be a difficult task. The issue was even worse considering the FFP constraints.
Lampard and his backroom team did make some additions, like Dwight McNeil and Neal Maupay, but no one was truly convinced that these are the players that would fill the Richarlison-sized hole.
With primary striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin sidelined due to injury for the majority of the goals thus far, the team was crying out for a person who can find the back of the net with regularity.
After all, the inability to do so has what landed Everton in the hot mess they are in right now, 19th in the table and managerless.
The onset of the January transfer window was seen by many as the ideal opportunity to get someone new and re-energize the team.
Many were linked but ultimately, Arnaut Danjuma, a player currently plying his trade in Spain, playing for Villarreal, was rumoured to be close to joining the Toffees on a loan move.
Fabrizio Romano, the ever-reliable transfer reporter, had given his trademark “Here we go”, which usually means that the move is agreed upon and only the official unveiling is left.
For context, Fabrizio has only ever gotten one Here We Go wrong in his many windows of reporting, which was the infamous fax machine incident related to the De Gea to Madrid transfer.
This was reported on 21st Jan. Days passed but no confirmation came from either club. Still, the Evertonians were not worried.
But the reason for hold up was finally given yesterday, and it was a dagger in the heart for the Merseyside club.
Tottenham, the same team that took Richarlison, came in late to take his replacement as well.
The player had not sent his documents to the FA, which is why the Everton deal was not complete.
History with Moyes
Quite why Danjuma decided to wait is not quite certain. But if rumours are to be believed, it is something to do with the possibility of being under David Moyes at Everton, something that the player was not looking forward to.
The two share a history.
Back in the summer, the Dutchman was all but done to sign for West Ham, but manager Moyes was not convinced and pulled the plug.
So it is kind of understandable why the player would now be unwilling to work under the man of had given him the vote of no-confidence only a few months ago.
Does that mean Moyes to Everton is confirmed? We don’t think so. He still has a job, after all.
But more about that some other time. Let’s talk about the now soon-to-be Spurs player Danjuma.
Who is Arnaut Danjuma?
Born in Nigeria, but now Dutch, Danjuma is primarily a centre-forward with the ability to play on either wing.
He started his career in the youth academy of PSV, before moving to NEC Nijmegen, which plays in the same league. His 14 goals in 46 outings earned him a move to Belgium’s Club Brugge. Only a year later, he found himself in England. Bournemouth bought the player for a reported £13.7 million.
A less-than-impressive first season, where the club was relegated and the player failed to score or assist in 14 games, was followed by a remarkable second season. Playing in the Championship, Danjuma scored 15 goals in 33 games in the league.
This earned a move to Spain’s Villarreal, for an estimated €25 million. He continued his goal-scoring ways, scoring 16 in 34 in all competitions. Playing minutes have been reduced this season though, with the player playing only 17 times, but still scoring 6.
At 25, Danjuma is in need of regular playing time, but given his good numbers, the club is reluctant to lose him. This perhaps explains why a loan move makes sense.
The Famous Cobra Celebration
Danjuma has a trademark celebration that he makes after scoring most, if not all, goals. He makes a snake with his hands to denote a Cobra.
It dates back to his days at Bournemouth, where he first did that celebration.
Speaking to Daily Echo in 2021, he said,
It’s a long story but I will keep it short! It’s for a friend of mine.
Whenever I was a kid, I would always play five-a-side with some friends of mine.
It was a particular friend who used to do that celebration whenever he scored.
It was tough when I was a kid and he did a lot for me when I was young.
It’s just to show to him that I will remember him always when I score and it’s just a little dedication to him. He watches every game as well. He is one of my best friends.
He himself, he’s a very skinny guy. When he used to dribble he would always go past defenders like a cobra, so that’s why.
We always call him a cobra, so that’s where it comes from.
The player goes on to add that it was just a celebration he did it once. But after that, he saw fans around town copy the celebration, which made him stick to it and do it ever since.
Is it the right move?
Spurs have done this before, hijacking two deals right from Everton’s grasp. It was done with Moussa Sissoko and Hojbjerg. But it made sense for both of them. Sissoko drove the team and was an influence in the game, while Hojbjerg has become a mainstay in the team.
But with Danjuma, things are a little less clear. Spurs already have a dearth of talent to play on the wings.
So at best, the player would be a squad player, playing low-profile games and probably getting more appearances off the bench than in the starting line-up.
It says a lot about the player and his character, given he has decided to forego a certain playing role at Everton for a bench role at Spurs.
Whether the move is a success or not, only time will tell. But it is definitely a slap in the face for Everton, a club now in need of a manager, a goal scorer, and some luck.