Chelsea first summer signing Nkunku ‘to be announced’ as £60m deal advancing

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Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino is set to welcome his first signing of the summer in the shape of Christopher Nkunku later this week, according to reports. A deal has been agreed for the playmaker since January, though his arrival at Stamford Bridge has not formally been announced.

Pochettino is hoping to rebuild the Blues attack this summer, with Romelu Lukaku desperate to remain with Inter Milan and reluctant to return to the Premier League. Several strikers are being assessed by Chelsea, including Lautaro Martinez and Atalanta’s Rasmus Hojlund.

The Blues are also looking at options that can play off of a traditional No 9, with Nkunku signed for that exact role. The France international is set to join the club in a deal worth up to £63million from RB Leipzig in what is expected to be a major coup by Chelsea.

According to CBS Sports reporter Ben Jacobs, the arrival of the ex-Paris Saint-Germain star could be announced this week, with the deal already being wrapped up for some time.

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Nkunku was initially brought in to provide versatility in the final third given that he can play anywhere across the frontline, though he now appears to be a direct replacement for Kai Havertz.

Arsenal are pushing to strike a deal with their London rivals for the signature of the German international, who is open to the move and keen to work with Mikel Arteta. ESPN report that Havertz has told Chelsea that he does not intend on extending his contract with Chelsea, prompting a £60m deal to prove more likely.

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The ex-Bayer Leverkusen star struggled since arriving from the Bundesliga, though he often found himself playing as a makeshift striker which certainly did not play to his strengths.

Nkunku will have learned plenty from analysing how his predecessor was forced to adapt to life in the Premier League, though former France international Bixente Lizarazu believes that the playmaker will have no issues at all.

He told Wettbasis: “His development was rapid and spectacular. He has become a complete player, capable of being used in almost any position in attack. This versatility also makes him so strong and important.”

“His freshness and self-confidence made him a great player in an environment like Leipzig, where he was able to flourish. He took on more and more responsibility. Now he seems to be giving the impression that he’s ready for the next step.”

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