Recently, Chelsea announced the signing of Christopher Nkunku from RB Leipzig for a fee of 65 million euros. The Blues have added another attacking option after bringing in several talents in the last two transfer windows. So, what can Chelsea new signing Nkunku bring to his new club? Let’s read on to find out!
4 things that Christopher Nkunku can bring to Chelsea
1. A reliable winger
If you regularly follow the Bundesliga, you will be familiar with Nkunku – one of RB Leipzig’s top stars. First and foremost, it’s important to emphasize that Nkunku is a versatile goal-scorer. Since joining Leipzig, the 25-year-old striker has netted 70 goals in 172 appearances across all competitions. In the Bundesliga alone, he has scored 47 goals. During that period, only 5 players have scored more goals than Nkunku in the Bundesliga. Many fans still consider him more of a winger than an out-and-out striker.
2. Scoring prowess
In his first two seasons at RB Leipzig, Nkunku often played as a traditional winger. This means he primarily operated on the flanks, utilizing his speed to beat opponents before providing assists for his teammates. In the 2019/20 season, Nkunku recorded 16 assists in Leipzig’s colors across all competitions. That was the season when the former PSG star frequently played on the left or right wing, occasionally as an attacking midfielder, and proved to be highly effective.
3. A false 9 with creativity
However, in the last two seasons, Nkunku has played more centrally, developing his role as a “false nine.” During that period, the French player scored 36 goals in just 59 matches. In the recently concluded 2022/23 season, Nkunku jointly won the Bundesliga Golden Boot with Werder Bremen’s striker Niclas Fullkrug, scoring 16 goals and achieving an impressive rate of 0.76 goals per 90 minutes. This figure is twice as high as the most efficient goal scorer at Chelsea in the 2022/23 season, Joao Felix, who scored 0.4 goals per 90 minutes.
Therefore, with Chelsea likely to send Felix back to Atletico instead of making his loan move permanent in the summer of 2023, Nkunku becomes the perfect piece to fill the attacking or “false nine” role. The 2021/22 season demonstrated how exceptional Nkunku is when he played as a second striker, contributing 35 goals and 20 assists across all competitions. Not only does he possess the ability to create havoc with his dribbling skills, but Nkunku also has excellent tactical vision to deliver incisive passes. This is something Chelsea severely lacked in the 2022/23 season, where they struggled for ideas in their attacking moves, resulting in few scoring opportunities. With Nkunku, Chelsea will temporarily address both issues on paper – goal scoring and creativity.
The remaining noteworthy concern is how Nkunku will adapt to the Premier League, as the English football environment is undoubtedly more challenging than the Bundesliga. In the Premier League, Nkunku will undoubtedly have less space for ball control and will need to make quicker decisions. This promises to be a significant challenge for the 25-year-old star, and it won’t be easy for him to have the same freedom as before.
There’s no need to look far, as Kai Havertz serves as a true example for Nkunku to consider. Havertz also had an explosive run in the Bundesliga while playing for Leverkusen but encountered numerous difficulties in adapting to the Premier League. Currently, Havertz is on his way out of Stamford Bridge after just three seasons.
Overall, if used correctly, Nkunku can prove to be a special player for Chelsea in the upcoming season, or vice versa. Time will provide the answer, and let’s wait and see how new head coach Mauricio Pochettino will utilize Nkunku to maximize his potential.
Which position does Nkunku prefer to play at Chelsea?
When asked about his preferred position at Chelsea, Nkunku shared on 90min: “I play in the position that the coach decides. I don’t want to be a problem but a solution for the club. However, I can play as a central striker, support behind the striker, or on the wings. I have the ability to adapt and enjoy playing freely. I have played in Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and now I want to test myself in the Premier League – one of the strongest leagues in the world.”
In summary, Chelsea new signing Nkunku brings excitement and anticipation. With his impressive goal-scoring record and versatility as a winger, he can provide the attacking spark and creativity that the team needs. Transitioning to a central role, Nkunku has proven his scoring prowess as a “false nine,” earning the Bundesliga Golden Boot. However, he will face the challenge of adapting to the intensity of the Premier League. Nkunku’s preferred position remains flexible, and his ability to contribute as a central striker, support player, or winger adds value to the team. Overall, Nkunku has the potential to make a significant impact for Chelsea, filling the gaps in scoring and creativity.
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