The switch window closed a bit of over a month in the past and Chelsea are already making strikes out there for subsequent yr. It’s hardly ever easy with Chelsea, who relieved Thomas Tuchel of his tasks after spending a report £266m in the summertime window, however the choice to transfer early for Christopher Nkunku is one that are meant to excite supporters.
Chelsea have had combined fortunes when signing avid gamers from the Bundesliga in recent times. They purchased Timo Werner from RB Leipzig for £50m in 2020 most effective to promote him again to the German membership for part that value this summer time; and Kai Havertz, who additionally joined in the summertime of 2020, has now not at all times made the affect supporters would have anticipated. The hope is that Nkunku will dollar that pattern. A deal has now not but been showed however Chelsea try to steer clear of the potential for lacking out at the France global via outlining their intentions early.
Nkunku put pen to paper on a two-year contract extension with RB Leipzig previous this yr, which accommodates a £52.8m liberate clause. Chelsea want to finalise a pre-contract settlement with Nkunku now to steer clear of a scramble for his products and services subsequent summer time. They are keen to tournament his liberate clause – and even higher it.
RB Leipzig have made a gradual get started to the season. They are eleventh within the 18-team Bundesliga following 3 wins, two attracts and 3 defeats of their first 8 video games. Nkunku, although, has been a vivid spot. He has scored six objectives of their 8 video games, an outstanding go back for an aspect that ranks 9th for possibilities created consistent with recreation (9.6) within the Bundesliga this season.
Nkunku has been at once fascinated with 39 league objectives because the get started of remaining season, scoring 26 occasions in that duration. He is one in every of most effective 5 avid gamers to have registered double figures for each objectives and assists because the get started of remaining season. Only Robert Lewandowski, Patrik Schick and Erling Haaland scored extra objectives than Nkunku within the Bundesliga remaining season.
What stands proud maximum about Nkunku, although, is his versatility. The 24-year-old is ready to play in any choice of positions alongside the frontline, be it main the fee, working out broad or in make stronger of the striker, although it’s price noting he is most suitable to a central position. Crucially, his efficiency ranges don’t endure a large dip when he’s deployed in a special place and this can be a driver at the back of Chelsea’s need to sign him.
Graham Potter changed Tuchel at Stamford Bridge remaining month and gained his first league recreation in fee on the weekend as Chelsea beat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park thank you to a overdue Conor Gallagher strike. After a 1-1 draw with Salzburg remaining month, Potter elected to transfer from a three-man backline to a four-man defence towards Palace, however the brand new Chelsea boss is ready to tinker mid-match to assist smash down warring parties, which is why Nkunku is such an interesting signing.
It used to be tough to are expecting how Brighton would line up beneath Potter remaining season. The supervisor began his facet in 13 other formations around the 38-game marketing campaign, with 3-5-2 his maximum used gadget, however even then he used that setup simply 9 occasions. That unpredictability highlights how conscientiously Potter prepares for every recreation and his in-game tactical flexibility implies that Chelsea will get started in a single gadget however briefly trade to some other of their quest for a objective. Nkunku would assist Potter proceed this means at Chelsea. Whether the executive needs to have one striker with two avid gamers in make stronger, or, as he did at Palace, get started in a 4-2-2-2, Nkunku could be ready to play to a prime usual.
Nkunku additionally has a prepared eye for a defence-splitting move. He has made 14 key passes from open play within the Bundesliga this season – most effective seven avid gamers have extra. For context, Raheem Sterling is best of this metric for Chelsea this season with 11. Nkunku is keen to drop deep or to the flanks to in finding wallet of area and obtain the ball from teammates. This high quality will assist Chelsea transition from defence to assault with relative ease and, with a striker as speedy and deadly as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang taking part in off the shoulder of the remaining defender – supplied he’s nonetheless on the membership this time subsequent yr – there may be the prospective to forge a tight attacking partnership.
That mentioned, Nkunku does now not be offering an excellent deal from a defensive point of view, so taking part in him in a gadget that calls for a selfless means from the attacker would now not get advantages him or the workforce. Indeed, he has dedicated extra fouls (six) than he has made a success tackles (two) within the Bundesliga this season, however then for a participant as naturally talented and perilous as Nkunku, asking him to perform defensive tasks is also a waste of his skill.
Either manner, Nkunku is a great have compatibility for Potter and a participant who will have to give a boost to a Chelsea facet that has scored simply 10 league objectives this season, 4 fewer than Nineteenth-placed Leicester and simply part as many as Arsenal. Central midfield is some other house of outrage for Chelsea given Jorginho’s advancing years, coupled with N’Golo Kanté and Mateo Kovacic’s ongoing damage issues, however, with Nkunku in the marketplace and the assault wanting a refresh, they will have to now not move up the chance to pursue the RB Leipzig megastar.