Arsenal may just have to swallow their own pride and suck up the potentially game-changing signing of RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku – a technical whizz and caricature of Mikel Arteta’s swashbuckling football. Before the Spaniard’s arrival at the club, Unai Emery had made a recommendation to the Emirates board.
During his time at Paris Saint-Germain, he’d begun to nurture a timid young attacking midfielder with a unique blend of trickery and creativity. His name was Christopher Nkunku.
Upon arrival in north London, Emery was keen to add Nkunku’s quality and promise to his squad.
Arsenal had two lethal goalscorers – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette in attack – but providing the duo with service would often prove to be the Gunners’ downfall.
That was acknowledged by the Arsenal hierarchy but instead of moving for Nkunku, former Barcelona man Denis Suarez was top of the agenda.
That kind of consistent output would be worth its weight in gold to any top Premier League or European side – despite any argument about the quality of the Bundesliga.
Yet delve deeper into Nkunku’s style of play and you really do sense that Arsenal missed a trick.
Nkunku is a manager’s dream and can comfortably play in as many as five positions across the frontline.
That sort of versatility is a manager’s dream, particularly for a coach like Arteta, who has been known to switch formation during matches.
Arsenal have been really keen for their attacking midfielders to contribute in the final third and arguably, no player has done it better than Nkunku in Europe this season.
He now has six goals and two assists in his last six Bundesliga outings for RB Leipzig, meaning he is almost single-handedly carrying the team.
In north London, the likes of Emile Smith Rowe, Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka have all made respectable contributions but none of those have been consistent across an entire season.
That’s where Nkunku comes into play. He has the ability to drive this Arsenal attack to new heights and the club can now do that without signing a new prolific striker.
Much has been of Aubameyang’s exile while Lacazette is also on course to leave at the end of the season.
However, Arsenal do have a ready-made replacement eagerly awaiting the chance to play as a central striker in Gabriel Martinelli.
He was phenomenal at times in the Europa League (2019/20 season) when playing through the middle under Emery and the signing of Nkunku would allow him to compete for the No 9 role on a more permanent basis.
Granted, Arsenal are still expected to dip into the market but landing Nkunku gives them an all-around top-class playmaker who can play anywhere across the frontline.
It’s the kind of revolutionary acquisition that will finally see Arsenal follow in the footsteps of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea by signing players that create significant squad depth.
At the moment, you can almost name Arteta’s starting XI due to the lack of serious competition in reserve.
Nkunku – for all the money he would cost – takes this Arsenal attack to a new level and should he also enable Martinelli to fulfil his potential as a striker, it’s two signings for the price of one.
Source Link: Read more