Chelsea are sizing up Christopher Nkunku as part of a double raid, though multiple reports have explained why both they and Man Utd are facing an uphill struggle.
The French attacker, 24, has enjoyed a truly remarkable breakthrough season in Germany. Prior ro the current campaign, Nkunku had never scored more than seven goals in a season across all competitions.
In the current campaign, Nkunku currently sits on 34 goals and has provided a whopping 20 assists too.
All in all, he has a ratio of better than one goal contribution per game. As such, it’s come as no surprise to see him linked with a blockbuster summer move to one of England’s heavyweights.
Indeed, Man Utd have frequently drawn links with the forward who can operate in a vast array of positions.
Ralf Rangnick’s connections have been tipped to serve United well if their interest is firmed up. Rangnick knows the Red Bull organisation better than anyone and could give them a crucial leg up if push comes to shove.
German outlet Bild recently reported United have spoken to Leipzig about a move. Nkunku does not hold a release clause in his deal, meaning any transfer won’t come cheap. Bild reckon his value is around £64m, though French outlet L’Equipe put it at £72.4m.
From the player’s end, the report gave hope to a move being made when insisting Nkunku wishes to move on. After such a stand-out campaign, he’s seemingly ready to strike while the iron is hot and move to a bigger club.
Chelsea want Leipzog double deal
However, according to Sky Germany reporter Florian Plettenberg, United aren’t alone in their admiration of Nkunku.
Plettenberg first confirmed United are interested in making a move. However, he added Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is ‘highly interested’ in signing Nkunku too.
In fact, Tuchel reportedly wishes to raid Leipzig twice with centre-back Josko Gvardiol also in his sights. The Blues are poised to lose Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen this summer, making reinforcements at the back a top priority.
However, both Plettenberg and the Sun explain why United and Chelsea may struggle to get a deal done.
Plettenberg added Leipzig ‘don’t want to sell’. Given Nkunku’s contract runs until 2024, they are under no pressure to offload their best player this summer.
What’s more, Leipzig have now reportedly tabled an offer to Nkunku over a contract extension.
The Sun, citing Fabrizio Romano, take it a step further.
Romano quoted Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff who categorically stated: “We have clearly discussed it internally. We won’t let Nkunku leave this summer, we told him and his agent.”
Clearly, Man Utd or Chelsea must make an offer Leipzig deem too good to refuse if Nkunku is to move this summer. Either that, or they’ll be relying on the player forcing his way out.
Nkunku miss a blessing in disguise?
One look at Nkunku’s gaudy numbers would suggest he’d be a potent force in England. However, there may be more than meets the eye.
Jadon Sancho serves as a prime, recent example of how an attacker can excel in the comparatively weaker Bundesliga, but struggle in the Premier League.
Indeed, Sancho notched 36 goals and 40 assists over his last two seasons at Borussia Dortmund combined. Since moving to Man Utd for around £75m, his output dropped to just five goals and three assists this year.
All eyes will be on Erling Haaland next season – should he complete his anticipated move to Man City.
The Norwegian is a goal-per-game man in Germany. Though even the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah haven’t been able to operate at that level for more than one season in England.
Yet Nkunku may be the most rounded attacker of the lot and would bring far more to whichever team he signed for than just goals.
Indeed, he can count centre-forward, second striker, No 10, right wing, left wing and attacking midfield as the positions he has played at Leipzig this season.
At the price Leipzig will hold out for, he’s undoubtedly a gamble, not a sure-fire success waiting to happen. Only time would tell whether he’d be one that would pay off.