Man Utd have received a timely boost in their quest to sign Christopher Nkunku, though reports are differing as to how much a deal will cost.
The French forward, 24, has been nothing short of sensational this season. The RB Leipzig ace had never broken double figures for goals across all competitions prior to this season. Ahead of tonight’s Europa League clash with Rangers, his tally this years stands at a whopping 31.
Nkunku has plundered goals in each competition he has played in and his potency in front of goal has earned him his first two France caps in 2022.
Unsurprisingly, his remarkable rise has not gone unnoticed, with Man Utd the headline act chasing his signature.
The Red Devils are poised to lose several forwards this summer as free agents. Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata will all leave for nothing. Furthermore, doubts persist as to whether Mason Greenwood will ever play for the club again.
Fabrizio Romano recently stated Manchester United will “100 percent” sign a new centre-forward this summer. What that means for Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford was detailed here.
Yet an Nkunku arrival could in some ways be a better use of United’s money if Ronaldo is retained. While a new striker would split minutes with Ronaldo, Nkunku can – and has – played literally everywhere in the final third this season.
Now, a report from German outlet Bild has shed light on what the future holds for Nkunku.
Nkunku wants out of Leipzig
Summarised by Sport Witness, United have reportedly ‘spoken’ to Leipzig about a move. While it’s acknowledged no offer has yet been made from any potential suitor, it’s deemed ‘only a matter of time’ before that changes.
Ralf Rangnick’s connections to the Red Bull organisation could yet serve United well. Though ultimately, a move would have to get the go-ahead from Erik ten Hag first. And should he give the green light to a raid, the report details a huge plus for the club.
From the player’s end, Nkunku is stated to now want to leave Leipzig this summer.
The German side are understandably keen to resist any and all approaches. It’s noted they want to table a new contract that would more than double his salary from €3m-per-year to €8m.
Christopher Nkunku race hots up again
RB Leipzig midfielder Christopher Nkunku is a target for Manchester United and PSG this summer
However, a bid of around €75m (£64m) would reportedly be enough to get Leipzig bosses thinking. Given the financial model they operate with, a deal in that range would be difficult to reject.
Yet according to French outlet L’Equipe – who also confirm United’s interest – even the higher figure of €85m (£72.4m) might not be enough to seal a deal.
That claim is cited by the Liverpool Echo who list Nkunku’s suitors as Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, PSG, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and of course, Liverpool.
Would he be Sancho mark ii?
Nkunku’s versatility would ensure he is a signing Ten Hag would be able to utilise – irrespective of what happens with the rest of United’s forwards.
He can count striker, No 10, left wing, right wing and attacking midfield among the positions he has taken up at Leipzig this year.
Whether his newfound goalscoring prowess is sustainable is open to debate. The jump from a previous high of seven goals in a season to 31 and counting is stark. However, the 20 assists he has provided this campaign showcase he is more than just a finisher.
Jadon Sancho’s struggles might make United pause for thought. He too racked up gaudy numbers in Germany, though has struggled since arriving in Manchester.
But Sancho must be judged over the long haul, not one season. A triumvirate of Sancho, Bruno Fernandes and Nkunku operating behind Cristiano Ronaldo certainly looks potent on paper.