RB Leipzig FW Christopher Nkunku (Contract expires 2024)
This might be my number one choice, but for good reason. RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku, 24, is having the best season of his career so far and is, in my opinion, one of the five best players in the world this calendar season.
This season under manager Domenico Tedesco, Nkunku found his stride, banging in 34 goals, 20 assists, 2.5 shots per game, and 1.8 key passes per game for the Bundesliga side. He has been integrated into the French national team because of his efforts.
Under former boss Nagelsmann, his primary positions were set in the midfield as an attacking midfielder, but he’s found himself primarily as a striker this season. For some who might see his signing as a questionable one because it’s his first real “scoring” season, you can leave your worries here.
Since his move from PSG (€13 million) to Germany, Nkunku has been one of the best players for his club and the most versatile across the Bundesliga. If there was a reason he scored very few goals for Leipzig until this season, his focus was on facilitating their offensive system up the pitch and feeding the ball to the likes of Timo Werner, Andre Silva, Yussuf Poulsen, and Patrik Schick.
So don’t look at his 34 goals as some fluke, but something long overdue for an exceptionally well-rounded player in attack and thriving in a system that suits his qualities as a goal scorer.
I believe football now more than ever is shifting towards players that can play anywhere on the pitch and cover for the teammate next to them. We’ve seen it in this Real Madrid side, with Fede Valverde being the ultimate Swiss army knife, playing in the midfield and as a right-winger in the Champions League.
Nkunku’s age, skillset, and versatility make him a no-brainer type of move for Madrid if they fail to bring Mbappe because he can do a little bit of everything and do all those little things effectively.
Dribbling, passing, set pieces, hold-up play (he’s only 5’9 !), and finishing, man has done and can do it all for anyone that he’s playing for.
And let’s not forget that he’s clutch in the biggest of matches. He scored a hat-trick against Manchester City in the Champions League group stage (ended the campaign with seven goals and two assists in 531 minutes of UCL), scored and assisted against his former club PSG, and regularly put the ball in the back of the net against the top Bundesliga sides this year.
To me, getting Nkunku is like a two-for-one special because he can cover for the likes of Luka Modric in midfield or become an integral part of the forward line during and after Benzema’s tenure.