Chelsea announce signing of Christopher Nkunku from RB Leipzig

French striker to join for a reported £52 million fee in what looks set to be busy summer in transfer market for Premier League club

Christopher Nkunku scored 70 goals in 172 games for RB Leipzig. AFP
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Chelsea have made striker Christopher Nkunku their first signing of the summer transfer window with the Frenchman arriving from RB Leipzig on a six-year contract.

Nkunku, 26, has been capped 10 times by his country but missed last year's World Cup in Qatar due to injury. His move to the Premier League club was announced Tuesday in a deal reported to be worth £52 million.

He played 172 games for Leipzig, scoring 70 goals – including 35 in all competitions during the 2021/22 campaign and was named Bundesliga Player of the Season and German PFA Player of the Season.

Nkunku scored 23 goals in 36 games last season – including 16 in the Bundesliga as he finished joint-top scorer alongside Niclas Fullkrug of Werder Bremen – to help Leipzig finish third in the table, five points behind champions Bayern Munich.

He becomes the first major arrival at Stamford Bridge since Mauricio Pochettino was confirmed as the club's new manager.

“I am incredibly happy to be joining Chelsea,” Nkunku told the club's website. “A big effort was made to bring me to the club and I am looking forward to meeting my new coach and teammates and showing the Chelsea supporters what I can do on the pitch.

'Having played in Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga, I now want to play in the Premier League, one of the strongest leagues in the world. I am very excited for this challenge and will be proud to wear the Chelsea shirt.”

Nkunku is a graduate of the French national football academy at Clairefontaine and started his professional career at Paris Saint-Germain. He made 78 appearances for PSG, scoring 11 goals, before moving to Leipzig in 2019.

He will officially become a Chelsea player on July 1.

In what is promising to be a busy summer of transfer activity at Stamford Bridge, four Chelsea players are poised for moves to join Saudi Pro League clubs.

Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is in advanced talks to join Al Ahli, defender Kalidou Koulibaly is wanted by Al Hilal, midfielder N'Golo Kante looks set to join Karim Benzema at Al Ittihad, while Cristiano Ronaldo's club Al Nassr are close to an agreement to sign winger Hakim Ziyech.

Another Chelsea forward, Kai Havertz, is wanted by London rivals Arsenal who have had a £50 million bid turned down but are reported to be making an improved £60 million offer, while Manchester United have made Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount one of their key targets this summer.

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Updated: June 20, 2023, 10:29 AM