Chelsea obvious Christopher Nkunku transfer call after Todd Boehly inventive data plan – Daniel Childs

It was almost two years ago to the day when Chelsea officially announced the signing of Timo Werner from RB Leipzig.

At under £50m and triggering a release clause, Werner appeared to be a major statement of intent by the Blues, nabbing a long-held Liverpool target under the nose of Jurgen Klopp.

Werner had been one of Europe’s breakout stars in the 2019/20 season, scoring 34 times in 45 games. His record rivalled some of the fiercest finishers in Europe, the deal appeared a no-brainer. Oh, how wrong we all were.


Werner has only scored 10 times in the Premier League for Chelsea since the beginning of the 2020/21 season, his potential return to Germany this summer would cement a poor investment for a player whose technical flaws were masked by a system and league that favoured him.

You could make a similar case for why Romelu Lukaku has failed at Stamford Bridge, spending almost £100m to bring the Belgian back to the club, like Werner was in 2020, Lukaku was meant to bring Chelsea’s goalscoring woes to an end.

In 2022, it could be Christopher Nkunku and his goalscoring numbers in addition to him playing for Leipzig cannot escape the irony when hearing fans crying out for the club to invest in him this summer.

Nkunku is attracting interest from a host of Premier League and European clubs as Leipzig aim to tie the 24-year-old down to a new contract. A report from The Independent on Wednesday further signalled Leipzig’s strong stance, setting a £100m price tag for the forward.

The French star has already been shortlisted as a potential attacking target for Chelsea this summer as Thomas Tuchel aims to rebuild his attack ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.

Nkunku fits into other targets linked, high-energy or inside forwards that would align with Tuchel’s counter-pressing style, something the likely departing Lukaku did not. In addition to Nkunku, Manchester City duo Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus have also been named.

This line of targets appears more consistent and the types of profiles Chelsea has lacked to supplement the likes of Mason Mount and Kai Havertz who stood out in a mostly disappointing attack.

But £100m is a spend too exorbitant in a summer where much has to happen at Chelsea and there is the potential of paying half that on Premier League-proven players like Jesus and Sterling.

In addition, Chelsea’s new co-owner Todd Boehly has been speaking on the future transfer strategy at Stamford Bridge. In comments to the SuperReturn International private equity conference in Berlin this week, the American expressed an intention to use data analysis in the selection and recruitment of players at the club.

Hopefully mirroring the success in recruitment seen at Liverpool and Manchester City, the two clubs Chelsea will aim to catch in the Premier League.

Investing smartly, and using data to hopefully uncover hidden gems can get Chelsea away from the major transfer mishaps that have baffled onlookers in recent years.

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