Arsenal are ready to smash their transfer record in order to beat Manchester United to £100m-rated RB Leipzig star Christopher Nkunku.
THE LOWDOWN: SENSATIONAL SEASON
Signed from Paris Saint-Germain having graduated from the club’s youth system, Nkunku had been making steady progress in Germany by directly influencing 39 goals in 84 outings prior to the 2021/22 campaign.
However, the versatile attacker took his form to a whole new level this season, directly contributing to an astonishing 55 goals in 51 appearances (35 goals, 16 assists) across all competitions.
Unsurprisingly, the upturn in output from the France international has prompted multiple suitors from across Europe to sit up and pay attention.
However, Leipzig are desperate to keep Nkunku and they’ve set a prohibitively high asking price of £100million in order to let the forward leave.
THE LATEST: WILLING TO MEET
The Independent claim Arsenal are willing to meet Leipzig’s asking price as they fear the competition for his signature will be even greater next summer.
The bad news for the Gunners is that Paris Saint-Germain are also said to be willing to pay Leipzig’s asking price to sign their one-time forward.
Leipzig are trying to convince Nkunku that his career would be best served by another season in Germany and they’re willing to hand him a new contract with a release clause to satisfy his ambition to move.
THE VERDICT: BRILLIANT CAPTURE
Holding a market value of £72m and under contract in Germany until 2024 (Transfermarkt), signing the 24-year-old would be a brilliant capture from Mikel Arteta at Arsenal.
Capable of operating centrally and on either wing, Nkuku shares a stylistic likeness with such star names as Tottenham forward Son Heung-min, Manchester City’s Phil Foden and Liverpool trio Luis Diaz, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane (FBRef).
That illustrious company in terms of his playing style – allied with a remarkable 7.59 Sofascore rating (third highest in the German top-flight) whilst completing 1.9 successful dribbles per game (joint-seventh highest in Bundesliga) – makes the prospect of adding a player of Nkunku’s calibre to the Gunners’ squad a hugely exciting one.
Described by current Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch as a player with ‘no weaknesses’, the gifted Frenchman should certainly be considered a priority transfer target for Arteta, however, it is difficult to see the north London outfit pulling off this deal as they are without Champions League football for next season which may not tailor to the Lagny-sur-Marne-born talisman’s needs in playing at the highest European levels.
As a result, Arteta and Edu Gaspar may have to keep their sights on securing other targets.
AND in other news, prolific 18-year-old Hale End academy product commits future to Arsenal…