Christopher Nkunku links are exciting, but Chelsea may remain cautious


It has been just over a month since the transfer window shut, but Chelsea already appear keen to improve their squad ahead of the 2023/24 campaign.

The west London side, now led by former Brighton & Hove Albion boss Graham Potter, were the biggest spenders in the Premier League throughout the summer. Over £250 million was spent by the Blues on new signings following their takeover by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital in May.

Raheem Sterling, Wesley Fofana and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are just three of the senior players who put pen to paper on deals at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea also signing a number of talented youth players for the years to come.

Despite such heavy spending, it appears as though they are ready to continue their business even with the transfer window currently shut. Recent speculation has linked them with a move for RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku, and a deal could be sealed ahead of next season.

The 24-year-old is an exciting talent from the Bundesliga and would provide a boost to Chelsea’s attack. However, Blues fans could remain cautious over his potential arrival given the limited success they have had with previous signings from the German top flight.

Nkunku rose through the ranks at Paris Saint-Germain, and made his senior debut for the side at the age of 18. He made 78 appearances for the French giants, before completing a move to Leipzig in the summer of 2019.

Five goals and 16 assists in his debut campaign for the club proved an impressive start and he produced similar numbers in the following term. However, last season the Frenchman took his game to a whole new level, and his performances would make him one of the most sought-after talents on the continent.

In 52 games across all competitions, Nkunku scored 35 goals and assisted a further 20. One of his most notable appearances came early on in the campaign when he scored a hat-trick away at Manchester City in the Champions League group stages.

He was named as the Bundesliga’s Player of the Season, beating the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Erling Haaland to the title. The forward signed a new deal at Leipzig earlier in the summer to keep him there until 2026, however Nkunku is now thought to have signed a pre-contract agreement to move to Chelsea next season.

The Frenchman’s talent is clear to see, but only time will tell how he will fare in the Premier League, considering the fortunes of others who have also made the move to the Blues from Germany.

A variety of names have made the switch from the Bundesliga to west London in previous years. Chelsea’s most notable and successful acquisition has been Michael Ballack, who went on to win the Premier League, three FA Cups and the League Cup during his time at Stamford Bridge.

He was very much a fan favourite amongst the Blues faithful, and only one of their other arrivals from the German top flight could have a claim of being held in such high regard.

Kai Havertz signed from Bayer Leverkusen in 2020 after a breakthrough season at the BayArena. He had a difficult first term in English football, but he capped it off with one of the club’s most historic goals on the big stage.

The 23-year-old scored the winner in the Champions League final against Manchester City and is therefore one of just three players to have netted on such an occasion for Chelsea, joining Frank Lampard’s goal against Manchester United in 2008 and Didier Drogba’s equaliser versus Bayern Munich in 2012.

Last season saw improvement from the German but he was still unable to hit the heights many had hoped for. However, his name will forever be etched into the club’s history thanks to that goal against City, which led them to their second ever title in the illustrious competition.

Despite Havertz’s efforts, some of his teammates have not fared so well. Timo Werner arrived in the same summer as his fellow countryman, with the attacker tearing up the Bundesliga at Leipzig prior to his move.

A total of 27 goal contributions in his first season at Chelsea would be a promising start, but he is most likely remembered for what he couldn’t do for the side, with the 26-year-old missing numerous chances. Last season saw less productivity in terms of goals and assists, and he has now sealed a return permanent return to Leipzig.

Christian Pulisic has also been one to make the switch from the Bundesliga to the Premier League. The captain of the USMNT moved from Borussia Dortmund back in 2019 but despite showing a lot of promise, he has also been unable to reach the very top of his game thus far.

The winger scored 11 goals and assisted another ten in his first season in west London, but only reached half of those contributions in the following campaign. Whilst the 24-year-old has struggled with injuries during his time at the club, he has been unable to take his chances in the side.

He has struggled for consistent game time in recent months even when he has been fit, and such a lack of minutes even led to speculation over a potential departure during the summer. The arrival of Sterling would not have helped his case either, and Nkunku’s potential signing could spell danger for Pulisic’s Chelsea future.

Throughout the next few months, it will be interesting to see how the Blues fare. The new ownership have made multiple changes during their time so far, and the arrival of a new head coach will still take some getting used to.

However, what hasn’t changed is the club’s ambitions for the future. Chelsea have been one of England’s most successful sides for nearly 20 years now, and their intentions to continue signing some of the best talent there is shows that they are by no means ready to stop winning.

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