Real Madrid have been linked with a handful of excellent forwards so far in the 2022 summer transfer window, and while Florentino Perez may choose not to sign any, there are strong chances that if the three of Luka Jovic, Mariano Diaz, and Marco Asensio are sold, Madridistas could welcome a star striker before the start of the 2022/23 season.
Bayern Munich’s Serge Gnabry is seen as the likeliest option given he has one year left on his contract and doesn’t appear to have any intention of staying, likely for Madrid. But there’s an even better Bundesliga player on the radar – younger too.
Christopher Nkunku was literally named Bundesliga Player of the Year, and everyone who watched the league agreed wholeheartedly that he deserved it over Robert Lewandowski, despite having the most goals and the recognition of the name of the latter.
The RB Leipzig star’s numbers and his overall impact on his team were too good to ignore. Nkunku kept Leipzig from missing out on a top-four finish, and he showed great character as he led the club to their first-ever trophy, a DFB Pokal final win over Freiburg.
Christopher Nkunku could cost Real Madrid 75-100 million euros
I don’t see Nkunku as a likely option for Real Madrid, but I find it interesting that cost is mentioned as a major deterrent. Andres Onrubia from AS says that Los Blancos have no concrete interest in Nkunku, who is priced at €75-100m by RB Leipzig.
It’s not a low price, but it’s not a bad deal in the context of the market. Darwin Nunez would cost Liverpool around €100m if this move goes through. Yes, he’s a few years younger than Nkunku, but no one can claim he’s as good as a player who was literally the best in his league AND getting minutes for the France team.
As we saw with the way Nkunku bonded on the pitch with Karim Benzema, Nkunku has the intelligence and footballing quality to fit in with Real Madrid’s best. And he certainly has the character and the leadership, as we’ve seen with the way he’s netted goals and provided assists for an otherwise disappointing Leipzig side time and time again.
Nkunku is worth 75 to 100 million euros. He’s rightfully one of the best players in the world right now, and he’s no flash in the pan. We’re talking about a player who has always been great and is now entering his prime. Because before becoming Leipzig’s top scorer this season, he was once their main playmaker and helped Timo Werner secure a big move to Chelsea that he might not have deserved in hindsight.
Christopher Nkunku adds value with his versatility
Over the past few years, Nkunku has been Leipzig’s best player. At 24, Nkunku has 20 goals and 13 assists in the Bundesliga along with four Europa League goals and…wait…seven Champions League goals. Seven at UCL. At RB Leipzig.
Moreover, Nkunku can play in several positions. He can be a striker, left winger, right winger, attacking midfielder or even a wide ball-carrying midfielder in a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 at a pinch. Nkunku even played at the back!
Signing players who are quality in many different positions is a great way to find value in the transfer market. Keep that in mind with transfer fees, too. In Nkunku, a team can buy someone who can adapt to many different roles with their skills, making a successful transfer more likely.
If this reads like great publicity for Nkunku, it’s because the player is legitimately excellent and still underrated and underrated by the average fan.
Would Real Madrid spend 100m on another replacement/future starter?
However, I’m about to drop the other shoe, so for those of you paying attention, here’s the essential piece. Even though Nkunku isn’t too expensive and is fully worth that price, €75-100m is still a huge investment. And Real Madrid have already dropped 80m euros (could rise to 100 or more in the future) on another world-class talent in Aurelien Tchouameni.
So potentially spending €100m on Nkunku is a hard sell for Florentino Perez in a sense, as he wouldn’t be a locked-in starter. Nkunku wouldn’t start on the left wing or in the forward position as Vinicius Jr. and Benzema are the obvious starters. He could start on the right wing, but that’s not his best position.
That said, we could apply these same disadvantages to other starters. Gabriel Jesus is not a Real Madrid striker. Tchouameni will not start either immediately, but he will in the future. Do Real consider Nkunku as a future full-time starter?
Real Madrid have the money to sign Nkunku. He can be an entry-level player in multiple roles, which helps a lot in terms of depth. Nkunku clearly has the quality to play for Los Blancos. But the question is, do Real see a role for him in their team? To the attacker? Did his performances at Leipzig convince them that he could be a long-term Benzema solution? If not, can he also play elsewhere?
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These are tricky questions. If the answers to enough of them are ‘yes’ or positive, Nkunku’s price goes from ‘expensive’ to ‘bargain’, given his 2021/22 superstar output. The problem with Nkunku is therefore not the price; it is worth that money on the quality. The problem is whether Carlo Ancelotti, Florentino Perez and Real Madrid are being sold to him as the right person. And it is something that deserves to be analyzed in detail, because it is a complex subject for another day. (After all, there is a big difference between 75 and 100 million euros!)