United target Arnaut Danjuma shares Old Trafford dream and idolises Ronaldo

Manchester United have been credited with an interest in Villarreal winger Arnaut Danjuma ahead of the summer transfer window.

Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano said in February that the wideman is among the players the club is looking at, despite the long-term identity of the manager being unclear.

United saw Danjuma up close twice last year, when Villarreal were seen off home and away in the Champions League group stage.

Unai Emery’s men made it through their quarter-final with Juventus, and face Bayern Munich tonight. Ahead of that game, Danjuma has given an interview to the Guardian.

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Danjuma played at Old Trafford in September, giving Diogo Dalot a tough night before United eventually won thanks to a late, late Cristiano Ronaldo goal.

“Old Trafford was a bit personal because I’ve always wanted to play there,” he said. “You just feel the atmosphere. I’ve always been a huge fan of Cristiano Ronaldo, so stepping on to the same pitch as him was a big motivation.

“He’s always been an idol for me and it’s not necessarily just his play. It’s easy to say he’s scored goals. But the thing that stands out is his intelligence. because how many players are able to adapt from what he’s been to what he is now?

“He was the most enthusiastic player that’s played on the wing and a couple of years later he’s turned into a goal killer. Your intelligence level needs to be of such a high standard to see you need to change your position. It’s insane.”

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Elsewhere in the interview, he said: “If we look at what I’ve done this season it’s quite fair and factual to say I’m among the best wingers in the world.”

He has 14 goals in 32 appearances for club and country this season and has the chance to stun one of Europe’s biggest clubs tonight.

Romano told FIVE: “Keep an eye on two names for the summer for that position. Danjuma and Antony. Two players both of them interest of top clubs. Liverpool, Manchester United its true they are following him.

“Antony is a top player Man United are following. He’s not the only one, but one they are following. Same with Danjuma. Danjuma is doing fantastic with Villarreal.”

The Athletic report Danjuma has a £62.5million release clause in his contract, although United would likely try to do a deal for less than that, during a summer where they need reinforcements in multiple positions.

Danjuma plays on the left, which would be interesting for Jadon Sancho, who many assumed was brought in to play on the right but has spent more time on the other side, especially under Ralf Rangnick.

A big performance tonight would take his career to the next level, and that would continue if Villarreal were propelled into the semi-finals at Bayern’s expense.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.