The new signing’s enthusiasm was infectious as he took in his surroundings with a smile almost as warm as the weather, greeting every moment with excitement, from gazing across the training pitches, settling into the changing room and, in particular, bumping into his new team-mate Armando Broja outside the gym.
It was just a flying visit to our Cobham training ground, to get acquainted before he returns full-time to begin pre-season training with Mauricio Pochettino’s squad, but it was clear Nkunku can’t wait to get started at Chelsea, and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get to know the French international a little better following his move to the Blues.
Welcome to Chelsea Christopher. For those supporters who haven’t seen you play much, what should they know about you as a footballer?
‘We can say that I am a hard worker. I will give everything for the club, for the fans and to help the team bring some trophies. To give the best of my football. I hope I will make them as happy as I am to be here at this club.
‘On the pitch I’m a bit quiet, but I can speak, I can shout also. But I’m very focused on the football and about winning, to do everything right, so I can say I speak with my feet. But it’s important obviously to speak to the boys on the pitch.’
Are you one of those players who loves to win, or hates to lose?
‘I hate to lose but I have both sides. You need to hate to lose also to win. So I think these are two opposite things, but you need to take these two things together to have success.’
Talk us through your decision to join Chelsea. What was the key factor?
‘I think the project was good for me. It is a good project for me to develop myself as a player and a man also. And this is a good city, after all, and for sure I want to improve in football and I want to win trophies and improve myself also. So I think this is a good project for me at this moment. This is a good project, for sure.’
You started your career in midfield and then moved forward, seeming to get better every time you changed position. Did it ever surprise you how well you took to new roles?
‘It never surprised me because it is just about my motivation. I want to improve, to progress every day, so wherever they tell to me to play, I play, and I wanted to improve in every position. So that’s the way I go about everything and why I was able to score goals after changing.
‘I was not surprised because I know my qualities, I know what I am capable to do, so I’m not surprised.’
You made a difficult decision earlier in your career, to leave Paris where you grew up and move to a new country with Leipzig. Was that difficult and did the success you enjoyed afterwards make it easier this time?
‘It was not an easy decision to leave Paris, because obviously I had everything in my life there, but I had the support of my family and my friends also. So it was a good step for me to improve in my career and now I’m really happy that I made this choice before and now I’m happy to be here.
‘And yeah, for sure it will help me now. I think now I can adapt also quickly and I hope I will do everything to be ready quickly and this experience before in Germany will help me for the future here.’
How much is new to you here? Do you know London or any of your new team-mates well?
‘I don’t know London so much. I only know some stadiums because I played here against Tottenham and Arsenal before. But apart from that I’ve never visited London before.
‘I know some of the players. I know Benoit Badiashile and Wesley Fofana a little from the national team but I’m excited to meet them again, to get to know them better and to work with them here.’
And how about the manager? Have you had a chance to speak to Mauricio Pochettino yet?
‘I have not had a chance to speak to him, not yet. I spoke to some of my friends from Paris about him a little bit. I speak about him a little bit with some of the players. They told me that he’s a very good coach and I’m excited to work with him.’
We’re sure the feeling is mutual Christopher, and for our part we can’t wait to see what Nkunku and Pochettino can achieve together at Chelsea.