Goal-getting midfielder still in Arsenal transfer plans despite Chelsea links

Date published: Friday 22nd October 2021 8:35 - Samuel Bannister

Christopher Nkunku battling with Marco Verratti

Arsenal are ready to revive a long-standing interest in RB Leipzig attacking midfielder Christopher Nkunku, according to reports.

Nkunku has been on Arsenal’s radar for a number of years. Unai Emery was still their manager when they first set their eyes on him. Emery had worked with Nkunku at Paris Saint-Germain and wanted to reunite with him in north London.

Ultimately, when leaving the French capital, Nkunku moved to Germany instead. He has been a Leipzig player since 2019 and has flourished in the Bundesliga.

Nkunku’s form means Arsenal have remained interest in him even after Emery’s departure in 2019. However, things went quiet over the most recent summer transfer window.

Instead, over recent months, the race for Nkunku’s signature has widened. Another ex-PSG coach, Thomas Tuchel, has been tipped to reunite with him at Chelsea. There have also been rumours of interest from Manchester City, against whom he recently scored a hat-trick in the Champions League.

But according to Calciomercato, Arsenal retain hope in the quest to sign Nkunku, whose contract runs until 2024.

Leizpig are consequently in a strong negotiating position. Given Nkunku’s goalscoring abilities from midfield, too, they will be able to fetch a decent price for him.

Arsenal haven’t always flexed their financial muscles in recent years, but do make the occasional big investment. They will likely have to make a big offer if they are to tempt Leipzig into selling Nkunku.

At the age of 23, the Frenchman has a good mix of experience and potential. After developing well in Leipzig, he will have many options to choose from when the time comes for him to take the next step.

For now, he must concentrate on his current club, for whom he has scored nine goals and provided four assists from 12 appearances in all competitions so far this season.

His overall record for the club stands at 21 goals and 31 assists from 96 games. Prior to that, he contributed 11 goals and four assists within 78 PSG appearances.

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He won 11 trophies in Paris but is yet to earn any silverware in Germany. His choice of next club will be important if he wants to taste such success again, even if his progress with Leipzig has been good.

Nkunku comments on transfer speculation

Last week, the attacking midfielder was asked about the interest in his services, particularly that from Chelsea.

Nkunku told Sport Bild: “If I was thinking of other clubs, we might as well forget our season goals.

“Big goals of our own are only realistic if we achieve something with Leipzig. Otherwise, these questions do not arise.

“I still have a contract until 2024 and I feel very comfortable at RB Leipzig.”

Nkunku recently changed his agent to Pini Zahavi but, even so, a transfer may not be in his mind immediately.

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