Chelsea are reportedly plotting a summer move for RB Leipzig attacker Christopher Nkunku, who has already undergone secret medical checks.
This week, BILD in Germany reported that RB Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku had passed a secret medical to complete a move to Chelsea. Several credible news outlets have since validated the report, including The Guardian, which claims the Blues are ready to make their move in their bid to secure his services early next summer.
Chelsea have already conducted medical exams on the French attacker in Germany, with a club doctor present ahead of a potential transfer next summer. The deal is moving swiftly, and according to some reports, Chelsea already have a verbal agreement in place with the player on contract and personal terms for a move to Stamford Bridge.
A Paris Saint-Germain academy product, the 24-year-old has shot to stardom in the Bundesliga. And Nkunku won the Bundesliga Player of the Year award last season following a spectacular individual season in which he scored 35 goals and assisted a further 20 in 51 competitive matches for Leipzig.
Nkunku has 53 goals and 48 assists in 147 competitive appearances since joining the German giants from his boyhood club Paris Saint-Germain in July 2019, and he has already scored six times this season.
Nkunku had been linked with a move away from Leipzig last summer, with Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Chelsea among those in the running. But a move never materialised. Instead, the 24-year-old opted to remain in Germany, extending his stay by signing a two-year contract extension.
However, there is a growing belief that Nkunku’s long-term future lies away from RB Leipzig, with Chelsea seemingly in the driving seat for his signature. The player’s buyout clause kicks in next summer, and he will be available for around €60 million, which is believed to be non-negotiable. Leipzig are unlikely to let Nkunku depart midway through the season, and any agreement is likely to be for next summer.
The west Londoners spent heavily on new players in the summer, including moves for attacking players like Raheem Sterling and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. However, after parting ways with Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku, and with the futures of Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic uncertain, Chelsea will need more attacking firepower in the future.
Furthermore, Chelsea are in urgent need of a striker, with Kai Havertz struggling as a lone forward and Aubameyang only a short-term signing, making Nkunku a viable target. And as things stand, Chelsea are looking to negotiate an pre-agreement deal with Leipzig to sign Nkunku in the summer of 2023. That is when Nkunku’s release clause comes into play.
The deal could follow a similar format as Chelsea’s signing of Werner or Liverpool’s signing of Naby Keita. The Guinean midfielder was transferred to Liverpool for €60 million in 2017, but he spent the 2017/18 season with Leipzig before joining Liverpool the following year.
The German outfit has already brought cover in the shape of Benjamin Sesko from sister club Red Bull Salzburg, with the Slovenian sensation set to arrive next summer. It will be interesting to see if Chelsea can seal Nkunku’s signing next summer.