premier-league

Why Tottenham hijacked Everton deal to sign Villarreal striker

Hijack: Arnaut Danjuma was set for Everton before moving to Tottenham (Getty Images)

Hijacking a deal from offloading Everton hardly screams ‘coherent transfer strategy’ at Tottenham, but there is plenty to recommend Arnaut Danjuma.

Danjuma joins on a season-long loan from Villarreal, despite agreeing terms and completing a medical at Everton. The winger is believed to have got cold feet following the sacking of Frank Lampard and Spurs pounced.

The Netherlands international, 25, was named in the Champions League team of the season last year when Villarreal reached the semi-finals under Unai Emery.

The former Bournemouth forward, who has also played in the Champions League for Club Brugge and has a year of Premier League experience with the Cherries, was equally impressive in La Liga, finishing last season with 10 goals and three assists from 23 games.

This term he has been limited to just six starts, partly due to injury and Emery’s departure to Aston Villa in October.

As a left winger or centre-forward who likes to take on his man, Danjuma’s arrival poses the biggest threat to Heung-min Son, whose dismal form shows no sign of abating. Son set up Harry Kane’s winner at Fulham on Monday but it was another hesitant display from the 30-year-old South Korean, whose place is already under threat from the fit-again Richarlison.

Son would likely benefit from time on the bench, but the arrival of another two-footed wide forward raises questions about his long-term future.

In the immediate term, Danjuma’s signing could pave the way for Lucas Moura to leave this month or Bryan Gil to return to Spain.

Perhaps the biggest question, however, is whether Danjuma really is an Antonio Conte signing or a piece of opportunistic club business. The Spurs boss has already demonstrated that signing players for him is risky, with Djed Spence, labeled a “club signing” by Conte, still awaiting his first start since a £15m summer move.

Conte always lacks attacking options from the bench, so Danjuma immediately adds much-needed squad depth, although bringing in a third striker who prefers to operate from the left does little to solve the other problems with his side.

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