After what seemed like months, Chelsea have finally confirmed the signing of Christopher Nkunku from RB Leipzig. Pochettino will hope that this addition will improve the attacking ability of this under-performing Chelsea team. The 25-year-old was the joint top goal scorer of the Bundesliga last season even though he missed a couple of months in the season through injury. He is also a versatile player, being able to play as a striker, midfielder and as a winger. Versatility such as this will be important to Pochettino as it will allow Nkunku to fit into any part of his attacking four if Pochettino deploys a 4-2-3-1 formation at Chelsea as he did at Spurs.
Even though his goal-scoring prowess would indicate that he should play as the striker next season, I believe that he will find the most success playing behind the striker instead. Nkunku has been most successful playing off another striker, at Leipzig last season, he formed a successful partnership with former Chelsea striker Timo Werner that led to Nkunku achieving an impressive 20 goal contributions in a bundesliga season disrupted by injury. Therefore, his strength of linking up with other forwards will be best utilised playing just behind the striker in a position that Dele Alli had previously found success in under Pochettinho. This role will enable Nkunku to get forward and score goals, whilst linking up with teammates to create goalscoring opportunities.
Nkunku has also shown his ability in the Champions League, scoring ten goals in his last thirteen appearances for Leipzig in the Champions League. The French star also scored a hat trick against Manchester City at the Etihad, one of three players to have scored a hat trick against Pep Guardiola's Manchester City. Even though Chelsea will not be in Europe this season, Nkunku’s statistics in Europe shows that this a signing with European Pedigree.
The biggest concern that fans may have with Nkunku is the fear that he will turn out similar to Timo Werner at Chelsea, every signing has an element of risk that comes with it however Nkunku’s ball playing ability will ensure that he does not have the same issues that Werner had. Werner whilst best known for his spectacular misses, struggled at Chelsea because his ability to retain the ball was not up to standards of the Premier League. His failed attempts at linkup with his teammates would constantly stop potential attacks which arguably ended up causing more frustration among the fans than his failed attempts at goal. His inability to retain possession meant that he fell out of favour with Tuchel and lost his spot completely in the team. Nkunku will not have the same problem, from his brief time playing as a midfielder for PSG, his ability with the ball has always been high quality however his goal-scoring form would lead to his position at Leipzig coming further up the pitch. As such, Nkunku should have the ball playing ability that is Premier League Standard unlike Werner. Nkunku will miss chances, in fact he has four more big chances missed than Werner, however, Nkunku provides more than just goals as a player, he also will provide the creativity and link up play that Werner never offered whilst at Chelsea.
Overall, for a reported transfer fee of £52 million, Nkunku will be a fantastic player for Chelsea that perfectly slots into Pochettino’s philosophy. The confirmed signing of Nkunku will be a nice way to start off the transfer window but if Chelsea want to get back into European football next season, they will need to continue to make smart acquisitions such as Nkunku.