Tuchel connection key as Chelsea pose threat to Man City for target

Amadou Haidara and Christopher Nkunku celebrate for RB Leipzig

Chelsea have joined the chase for RB Leipzig midfielder and Manchester City target Christopher Nkunku, according to reports.

Midfield has become an area of concern for Chelsea in the transfer window. They are well stocked there, but that may change in 2022. There is already a feeling that Saul Niguez will not stay permanently after his loan spell from Atletico Madrid, for example.

In addition, Chelsea have been tipped to make the surprising decision to sell N’Golo Kante. Ruben Loftus-Cheek may also face an uncertain future despite his recent return to getting gametime.

Should they be deprived of some midfield options, reinforcements will be required. With that in mind, there have been frequent links with Aurelien Tchouameni of Monaco, for example. In addition, ex-academy player Declan Rice remains an idea.

But a new name in their midfield hunt is that of Nkunku. The former Paris Saint-Germain product has played under Thomas Tuchel before. Now, Foot Mercato speculate a reunion.

The French outlet believes there are three concrete suitors for Nkunku. The others are Manchester City and Real Madrid.

City’s interest was revealed recently after he scored a hat-trick against them in the Champions League.

Madrid, meanwhile, are always keen to pick up top talent from across the continent. They are said to be keen to sign him next summer thanks to their good relationship with his agent Pini Zahavi.

But Chelsea may have an advantage thanks to the presence of Tuchel, who showed his faith in Nkunku in Paris. He was unable to keep him there, but the way the 23-year-old has progressed since could lead to a transfer on the horizon.

In that case, Tuchel would be ready to make his pitch to someone who was previously an Arsenal target.

Christopher Nkunku celebrates RB Leipzig goal

It seems he could end up at a different destination in London instead, although Manchester and Madrid remain potential next locations too.

Nkunku’s contract lasts until 2024, though, so Leipzig are still in a strong negotiating position.

Featuring as an attacking midfielder or winger, the Frenchman has scored four goals apiece in both the Bundesliga and Champions League so far this season. He would be able to provide useful qualities in a variety of roles if he was to move to the Premier League or La Liga.

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Tuchel lays out Saul plan

Meanwhile, Tuchel has been speaking about one of the midfield options currently at his disposal.

Saul has struggled to make an impression since his loan switch from Atletico on deadline day. As such, his long-term future is already in doubt.

He came off at half-time of his debut and wasn’t called upon from the bench in the Blues’ most recent match.

Explaining why, Tuchel said: “He does not need to worry. Just work hard and adapt and the chances will come.

“We have only 11 to give a chance. I would like to see it in a positive way.

“If you turn it around of course you have eight players who we didn’t trust today from the beginning. This is a reality. I cannot hide from this reality.

“I will always do my choices in the best belief for the team and best belief in this moment and for these type of games.

“There will always be tactical choices and choices of current form and of connections on the field. Particularly about Saul, he was very, very close to start today.”

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