Thursday’s stoppage-time winner by Alexandre Lacazette keeps Arsenal in control of the race for fourth place and a return to the Champions League. With those ambitions, those hopes, will come increased transfer speculation for enhancements to the squad this summer. If they are back in the top four, the Gunners will need a few more players capable of starting at that level.
One of those such talents that will be heavily linked this summer window is Christopher Nkunku. RB Leipzig Managing Director Oliver Mintzlaff recently commented that the club wasn’t planning to sell Nkunku or other prized players Dani Olmo and Andre Silva. But after coming to life this season, top European clubs will be eyeing Nkunku who may be willing to push for a bigger pay-day and Champions League ambitions.
Player: Christopher Nkunku, 24
Current Club: RB Leipzig. He joined the PSG academy in 2010, before quickly moving from the U15s to PSG B to the full senior team all in 2015. Four seasons with PSG saw Nkunku score 11 goals and provide 4 assists from 78 matches. He then made the move to Leipzig where he was solid, but not spectacular in his first two years. This season has seen him catch fire, 34 matches, 22 goals, & 13 assists. Just imagine those numbers added to Arsenal’s attacking line.
International: A consistent member of the French U21 and U20 sides, but has yet to get his first cap for the senior side. His last international appearance was in September 2018. With his recent form in the Bundesliga, you would imagine France may look to cap-tie him soon as Nkunku has eligibility with the Democratic Republic of the Congo as well.
Position(s): He is primarily an attacking midfielder, but is extremely versatile. This season alone he has played multiple matches at right midfield, left midfield, shadow striker & center forward. His most likely spot for Arsenal would be in that #10 role, splitting time with Martin Odegaard, or as a false 9.
Potential Price: Estimated around $60 million, which will be a wonderful return for RB Leipzig whenever they decide to sell. They bought him for $14m in 2019 from PSG. With two seasons left on his contract after this year, it will take quite the fee to pry Nkunku away from the German side.
Arsenal Positional Depth:
- Martin Odegard (23, starter, contract runs through 2025)
- Emile Smith Rowe (21, starter or split time with Martinelli, contract runs through 2026)
- Numerous U23 players in the attacking midfield role.
Arsenal Need: Moderate to Low. On the one hand, Arsenal would jump at the chance to add Nkunku to Odegaard in the #10 role. Those two plus Saka, Smith Rowe, Martinelli, and Pepe would be a tremendous 2-deep across the attacking trio behind the center forward. However, the club has more pressing needs. Needs that will require the funds it would take to bring in Nkunku. Arsenal has to sort out Center Forward and a new Center Midfield first.
Final Verdict: Out of range (for now). If Arsenal makes the Champions League and Nkunku wanted to move to the Emirates, I believe the club would gladly find the money. But he can’t be guaranteed a starting spot in Mikel Arteta’s side. Additionally, the club will likely look for a less expensive option, if they even need one. Realistically Arsenal only needs to add one player to that line, which could easily be filled by Reiss Nelson or one of the U23 rising talents. Given the funds and time to be spent bringing in one or two forwards, the new midfielder, potentially replacing Cedric with a younger right-back and working through their numerous senior-level loan players, adding a $60m #10 is way down the priority list.