After a disappointing season, new Manchester United boss Erik Ten Hag is targeting multiple signings to get the club back to the Champions League places at least in his debut season. Apart from midfield and defence, the Dutchman also wants to add an attacker to bolster his squad and Christopher Nkunku is among the names in the fray.
The RB Leipzig attacker is a player in-demand, with Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain also interested in his signature. The French international had a brilliant season, netting 35 times in all competitions. He was named the Bundesliga’s player of the season, beating Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski in the process.
The French international has spoken up regarding the interest shown from both Premier League clubs and said he is “flattered”.
“It’s no secret. There are clubs interested in me. Yes it’s flattering, but it’s also flattering to have a club like Leipzig do everything to keep me as well,” said Nkunku, speaking to Telefoot, as quoted by GFFN.
2021/22 Bundesliga Player of the Season: Christopher Nkunku
◉ 34 games
◉ 20 goals
◉ 13 assists
2021/22 Serie A Goalkeeper of the Season: Mike Maignan
◉ 32 games
◉ 80.4% save percentage
◉ 17 clean sheets
At PSG in 2016 and 2014 respectively. 😯 pic.twitter.com/RtGTUyM4m2
— Squawka (@Squawka) May 24, 2022
Initially plying his trade as a midfielder, he has excelled in a more attacking role prompting France manager Didier Deschamps to select him in the France squad.
Manchester United currently have only one out-and-out striker in their books – Cristiano Ronaldo. Even though the 37-year-old dazzled on his return to the Premier League, the Red Devils need to add firepower up front. Edinson Cavani has already left and Anthony Martial could also be set to leave the 20-time English champions. That leaves Marcus Rashford as the only viable alternative.
The Frenchman will also be a cheaper alternative to Benfica striker Darwin Nunez, who is reported to be United’s No 1 target. Benfica are asking for close to £85m for the Uruguay international. German publication Bild had claimed recently that a £54million offer would be enough for Leipzig to sell their star forward.
Earlier in the year, Leipzig director Oliver Mintzlaff had clearly mentioned that the club would do everything in their power to keep a hold of Nkunku this summer.
The 24-year-old is well aware that his stock is at its highest but the upcoming World Cup presents another challenge. He is directly competing with PSG star man Kylian Mbappe for a place in the national team.
And the only way he will remain in Deschamps’ plan ahead of the Qatar showpiece event is if he gets regular minutes for his club side and keeps excelling like he did the season before.
“I’ll have to reflect well and make a decision. The World Cup is on the way and that’s another factor to take into account,” added Nkunku.
The would be a welcome addition to the Red Devils and will also represent a shift in strategy with United favouring experienced strikers in the last few seasons. The likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Odion Ighalo, Cavani and Ronaldo have come to the red half of Manchester well into their 30s. His age and profile would suit Ten Hag’s philosophy of nurturing youth and helping them improve even further.