The German club remain adamant that their star player will be going nowhere this summer but Thomas Tuchel may have the answer to change their minds
Chelsea may be able to land one of their main transfer targets to replace Romelu Lukaku in the form of Christopher Nkunku if Thomas Tuchel is willing to use a secret transfer weapon that could make RB Leipzig re-consider their stance on potentially selling the France international this summer.
Lukaku’s £8million loan departure is all but completed with the Belgian scheduled for a medical very soon and Todd Boehly and Chelsea can concentrate on replacing him and building a squad for Thomas Tuchel to challenge Liverpool and Manchester City for the Premier League title. Raheem Sterling is reportedly the number one target but there is a difference of around £10million between the two clubs’ valuations, with City holding out for around a £45million fee in compromise.
Despite initial feelings that Man City’s number 7 would be a direct replacement for the club-record signing, this isn’t thought to be the case as football.london understands that multiple attackers will be brought in as part of this needed revamp in the Blues’ attack. This will include the signing of a new out-and-out striker. A sentiment that was echoed by The Athletic’s Chelsea correspondent Simon Johnson in a recent podcast recording: “No it’s not a direct replacement and obviously, Lukaku was signed to be the target man and to be the goalscorer to lead that attack.
“So, one would assume and rightfully think that they would go for someone else to replace him, they’ve got to. If you were to look at one of the key areas that Chelsea are lacking in regarding competition with City and Liverpool, it’s in attack and noticeably once their defence started to leak goals, it became more of a noticeable issue. This is because in the first three-four months of the season, they were able to win games by keeping clean sheet after clean sheet but suddenly the pressure was put on them to score two-three goals to win the game and they didn’t have the tools to do this.”
Who could be the man to finally be the missing part of the jigsaw? Well, German outlet Bild have reported that Tuchel has identified Nkunku to be that man but he faces many obstacles in the form of his current club themselves and other interested parties like Man United who have been registered with an interest in the Bundesliga player of the season for 2021/22.
Their report states that Tuchel is keen on adding Nkunku to his team following Lukaku’s departure, but Chelsea believe they would have to spend €100million (£86m), which they are reluctant to do. On top of this, it is understood that Paris Saint-Germain could come in strongly for a player who has ambitions of returning to France one day. All these complications mean nothing is imminent as of yet but there could be a secret weapon in the current World Champions’ armoury that could ignite this deal.
Timo Werner is a player who is reportedly not happy with his game time and role in West London to date and amid reports he could seek an exit this summer, it is believed that Chelsea would not stand in his way if a suitable offer was to come in. His preference is to return to the Bundesliga and at one point, Borussia Dortmund were in the prime position to pounce but the wage and transfer demands meant they had to cool their interest and instead, they opted for Ajax’s Sebastian Haller.
Could Leipzig accept Werner back as part of a Nkunku swap plus cash deal? This is certainly one avenue Boehly could explore in negotiations to help lower the fee and with the 26-year-old still having a good rapport with his fans back in Germany, a return doesn’t seem too far-fetched.