Premier League • England

Chelsea locked into 2023 battle for standout Bundesliga star as Boehly prepares to battle ‘many clubs’

Christopher Nkunku, September 2022

Chelsea will be one of “many clubs” fighting to sign RB Leipzig attacker Christopher Nkunku next summer, according to a report.

The Blues finished the summer transfer window as one of the Premier League’s biggest spenders amid headline-grabbing signings. Raheem Sterling and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fitted into those particular categories.

Elsewhere, Chelsea spent an initial £70million on former Leicester defender Wesley Fofana. That deal came following the £34million signing of ex-Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly.

However, the Stamford Bridge club went after previous targets elsewhere in the window.

Leipzig forward Nkunku was a firm summer target until the France international signed a new deal in June. Those terms run through to 2026 and also put paid to interested clubs’ chances of swooping – for now.

Indeed, the new contract contains a release clause set at €60million (£53million). And transfer expert Fabrizio Romano has now claimed that Chelsea – currently led by owner and interim sporting director Todd Boehly – will be one of several teams who will try to sign Nkunku in 2023.

“There will be many clubs in the race for Nkunku next summer, including Chelsea as they’ve always been interested and attentive to his growth,” Romano wrote for Caught Offside.

“Nothing has been decided yet on the next step, it will be in 2023 – Nkunku will be one of the big names next summer.”

Nkunku eyeing more Leipzig success

For now, Nkunku is looking to continue his fine start to the season.

The 24-year-old has scored six goals in 11 games in all competitions, including four in seven in the Bundesliga.

Nkunku, who left Paris Saint-Germain in 2019, has in fact played every minute in the German league this term. Leipzig have suffered a topsy-turvy start, winning and then losing in their current five-match pattern.

Nkunku, though, is still standing out as a star attacker in their team following his new contract.

Star forward set for move away

Still, there is surely no doubt that he will move on either in January or next summer.

A January move for Nkunku looks unlikely given he will – if fit – participate at the World Cup for France.,

Nkunku has made substitute appearances in both of his country’s Nations League matches in September.

While he has therefore not been a regular starter, he is getting vital faith and minutes before the Qatar tournament.

As such, a summer 2023 move for Nkunku looks more likely. Leipzig will have more time to source a replacement – as is their way.

The German club will also know that their forward’s £51million release clause will be tempting for clubs.

And as for the player himself, Nkunku turns 25 in November. At the end of the season, he can look for a new move elsewhere with bigger wages to take into his prime.

Many clubs have selected forwards on such merits before. Liverpool, for example, signed Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota when they were all 25 and they have proved excellent additions.

Nkunku has shown that he could soon become another household name in the Premier League.

And a solid World Cup for France – who have albeit suffered poor recent form – will only see his stock rise further.