What Chelsea can expect from Nkunku as Leipzig exit nears
Christopher Nkunku’s final important act in the Bundesliga was blowing the title race wide open.
While the Frenchman will be disappointed that RB Leipzig was not in contention for the title this season, his penalty to put them ahead at Bayern Munich last Saturday will be remembered for providing Borussia Dortmund with a clear path to their first crown in 11 years.
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Despite suffering from ailments, the 25-year-old will depart Germany this summer after adding to his 35-goal haul in the 2021-22 season with another 20 and counting this term.
With a Premier League move on the horizon, we turn our attention to yet another product of the French talent pipeline.
Nkunku was widely rumored to have inked a pre-contract deal to join Chelsea this summer as part of Blues owner Todd Boehly’s hectic 12 months of transfer business.
A £50 million deal till the end of 2022 was believed to have been struck, with Leipzig sporting director Max Eberl telling Bild: “The signs are very, very clear that he’s moving to Chelsea.”
There has been no official confirmation from either end, with new claims saying that the West Londoners’ failure to qualify for Europe next season has cast doubt on the attacker’s mind.
Real Madrid is thought to be interested in signing Nkunku as a quality backup for Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior, and Rodrygo — but a move to Stamford Bridge remains likely.
Over the last two Bundesliga seasons, skunks have finished second in goals and fourth in assists, a dual threat that no other player in the division can equal.
Even though he has been less prolific this season due to injury, his 14 league goals from 19 starts is still a remarkable result.
With great physical and technical abilities, the Paris Saint-Germain Academy graduate presents danger in a variety of ways.
During that time, he was in the top 11 in Germany for shoots, dribbles completed, and major opportunities created.
Nkunku’s skill set is so diverse that tying him down to a single specific job is difficult.
This season, the Leipzig hotshot has been used across Marco Rose’s frontline, but he believes he is at his finest when given the freedom to take as many touches as possible.
“I think attacking midfield is a position that suits me well, close to the goal behind a striker,” the eight-cap international remarked in a recent interview. That neatly describes me as a player, thus I enjoy performing in this role.”
Opportunities on the international stage
Nkunku’s form could have easily earned him more appearances for Les Bleus than he has thus far.
The forward was named to Didier Deschamps’ World Cup team before suffering an injury that forced him to withdraw from the tournament, and he is competing for a starting berth with numerous other players of comparable stature.
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Signing with a more prestigious club may increase his chances of international selection.
Rivals Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, and Kingsley Coman play for PSG, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich, respectively, where they battle for league crowns and the Champions League.