As the big guns prepare to fight for Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappé next summer, Liverpool will know they will be out of their depth against the wealth of PSG, Manchester City, Chelsea and Real Madrid.
Realistically, there is little chance that Liverpool will be able to compete for either deal, but it could end up becoming a blessing in disguise.
Liverpool have never been the type of club that buys ready-made players like Haaland and Mbappé. The FSG has always encouraged the club to go beyond these names in the market and target more underrated players.
And so that the big clubs find themselves distracted by the battle to land Europe’s most coveted stars, Liverpool can operate in the shadows to guarantee the perfect alternative to Haaland and Mbappé in Christopher Nkunku.
Like Haaland and Mbappé, Nkunku has been in great shape this season. He has contributed 28 goals for RB Leipzig in all competitions in 26 games – not far from Mbappe’s 33 and slightly more than Haaland’s 25.
However, while Haaland and Mbappé are likely to demand high salaries and significant financial costs, Nkunku is reportedly available for a relatively low transfer fee given he is valued at £ 50million according to Transfermarkt and is owned by a club RB Leipzig, which rarely demanded exorbitant prices, even for their precious assets.
Not to mention Nkunku might just be the best choice for Liverpool in terms of playing style out of the three.
One of the things that stands out about Nkunku that will appeal to Jürgen Klopp the most is his versatility. While Haaland has only been deployed as No 9 this season, Mbappe has mostly been used as a left winger playing occasionally as No 9, Nkunku has already played at five different positions this season.
He has been used on the left and right flanks, as an attacking midfielder, second striker and center forward.
In that sense, the French U21 international looks suspiciously like Roberto Firmino, and Nkunku would be an ideal candidate to become the Brazilian’s potential heir at Anfield.
While Nkunku is comfortable playing with his back to goal and adept at finding the back of the net regularly, just like Mbappé and Haaland, Nkunku is also able to step back and be involved in the preparation for the attack.
His creativity is an area where he goes beyond Haaland and Mbappé.
This season, he’s averaged 4.72 shot-making actions in the Bundesliga, which ranks him in the 96th percentile of attackers according to FBref. It’s much better than Haaland (2.91) and Mbappé (3.84), and if Liverpool are to keep the same system they currently use, a decision for Nkunku might make more sense as the player is clearly better suited. to Klopp’s false no. 9 role than Mbappé or Haaland.
At 24, he’s a year older than Mbappé and three years older than Haaland, but Nkunku is still one for the future, with the forward potentially securing Liverpool’s future for at least the next five years.
Over the weekend, Nkunku proved how influential he can be with one goal and two assists for RB Leipzig in a 45-minute appearance, reminding Liverpool of his quality.
His dazzling feet, explosive style and skillful positioning exhibited the characteristics of a player tailor-made for Liverpool. gegenpress. His 0.79-for-90 goal contributions throughout his career at RB Leipzig are also a sign of tantalizing potential.
Liverpool have often withdrew from deals with top players only to sign a more underrated option which would then prove to be a better fit.
Think of Timo Werner, for example, who went to Chelsea instead, only for Liverpool to sign Diogo Jota. Or when Liverpool missed Julian Brandt before signing Mohamed Salah.
They could secure another under the radar at Nkunku this summer with the ripe opportunity, and leave the big clubs wishing they had removed their Haaland and Mbappé tinted glasses before it was too late.