Christopher Nkunku has hit the ground running at Chelsea and he’s expected to play a major role for the Blues under Mauricio Pochettino
Christopher Nkunku has been a standout performer for Chelsea during the club’s pre-season tour of the United States. The 25-year-old was finally announced as a Blues player last month, penning a long-term deal which keeps him at Stamford Bridge until 2029.
football.london understands that the Blues were monitoring Nkunku during his time at RB Leipzig, and they were thoroughly impressed. Despite having missed two months of the season, the France international still managed to get his hands on the Bundesliga golden boot, along with Niclas Fullkrug, scoring 16 goals.
After the west Londoners struggled to find the net last term, Nkunku is expected to play a starring role under Pochettino. And, he’s already hit the ground running in pre-season, finding the net against Wrexham and Brighton.
While it’s still early days, the Frenchman has made a great impression – but, he now faces his biggest decision yet. Nkunku has been donning the No.45 shirt as a placeholder until Mauricio Pochettino officially announces his 25-man squad for the season.
He’s never previously worn that number, but it’s serving him well. With that being said, football.london has taken a closer look at what numbers Nkunku might prefer.
Following the departure of N’Golo Kante, the No.7 has become available. It’s often an attractive option for those who want to follow in the footsteps of the likes of David Beckham or Cristiano Ronaldo, but history suggests that this won’t be Nkunku’s first choice.
Nkunku donned the No.8 shirt in spells during his time in the academy at Paris Saint-Germain, but as he grew older he seemed to prefer double digits. The No.8 is an iconic jersey at Stamford Bridge and, if he took it, then the comparisons to Frank Lampard will undoubtedly start rolling in.
The orthodox striker number which has cursed Chelsea players for years. It could be argued that Tammy Abraham has been the only person to overcome the pressure which the No.9 brings at Stamford Bridge since Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink over 20 years ago – and maybe Hernan Crespo in 2005/06.
While Nkunku has operated as a sole striker at times in pre-season, it’s likely that he’ll play a supporting role behind or beside Nicolas Jackson.
Nkunku has rarely worn the No.10 in his career but, with Christian Pulisic vacating the number, it is a realistic option for the Frenchman as a marquee signing. Not to mention that the 25-year-old is also a huge admirer of Eden Hazard.
Some big names have donned the No.11 for Chelsea in the past – Pedro, Didier Drogba, Oscar, Damien Duff and Dennis Wise – but not so much recently. Nkunku also named Drogba an inspiration of his so he may well choose to follow in the Ivorian’s footsteps.
Nkunku enjoyed wearing the No.18 during his time at RB Leipzig, but it’s not available at Chelsea – it is in the possession of Armando Broja. The Cobham graduate could, of course, hand it over to the Frenchman and then take his pick at what is left over.