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Monday, June 6, 2022

Chelsea must ensure they don't fall into Timo Werner trap with star 'flattered' by transfer news

  Chelsea are on the verge of entering their first transfer window under the new ownership of Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital and it...

 

Chelsea are on the verge of entering their first transfer window under the new ownership of Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital and it's a significant one. The names linked to the Blues are adding up with Ousmane Dembele, Jules Kounde, Christopher Nkunku and others leading the way.

It's a pivotal few months ahead as Thomas Tuchel aims for a rebuild at Cobham, with the potential to form a squad of his own identity 18 months into the job. The only signings made by Chelsea since the German coach took the hotseat are Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Bettinelli and Saul Niguez.

While the obvious area Tuchel needs to strengthen is the defence with Antonio Rudiger's departure to Real Madrid and Andreas Christensen also set to leave Stamford Bridge, the Blues have also had some difficulty in attacking areas of the pitch. football.london understands Chelsea have scouted the aforementioned Nkunku in the 2021/22 season.

The 24-year-old Frenchman has enjoyed an outstanding season with RB Leipzig and is flattered in the interest around him. The former PSG youngster has already cited his World Cup ambitions as playing a factor in any decision he makes. Nkunku said on international duty:

“It’s no secret there are clubs that are interested in me. Yes, it’s flattering. But it’s also flattering to have a club like Leipzig doing everything to keep me. “Here, we will have to think carefully and make a good decision. The World Cup is coming to life and this is a parameter to be taken into account. Like I said, you just have to think it through.”

It's little wonder that the Bundesliga side endeavour to keeper the attacker after he racked up 20 goals and 13 assists across 34 appearances, figures Chelsea's stars struggled to replicate last season. It's clear to see why signing Nkunku would be appealing with such ruthless output, as he outperformed his expected goals (xG) by five goals.

However, while the Blues did have some problems in front of goal - no Chelsea player exceeded Romelu Lukaku's 15 goals last term - it is perhaps not the squad's ability to convert chances that was an issue.

As per FBref, Kai Havertz, Mason Mount, Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, Jorginho, Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech, Reece James, Marcos Alonso, Antonio Rudiger, Trevoh Chalobah, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ben Chilwell, Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Mateo Kovacic, N'Golo Kante and Andreas Christensen all converted or exceeded their xG expectations.

An indication that producing good quality chances regularly may have the bigger issue. However, despite his overperformance in all competitions, it could be Nkunku's former teammate Werner that should still offer some trepidation.

Despite a hat-trick against Southampton, the German international managed just four goals in the Premier League, three fewer than expected. His debut season at Stamford Bridge saw six goals but the 26-year-old was more than five goals behind what he would have been expected to convert.

Those figures come after a final Bundesliga season where he netted 28 times, an overperformance of almost six goals; similar to Nkunku's overperformance over the last 12 months.

It would be crude to suggest they are the same player, but Nkunku has picked up the slack for Leipzig since Werner's departure and brings an all- round threat. He could be a fantastic signing, albeit in an area of the squad that is bloated and struggles to have a standout player beyond Mount.

Chelsea should take heed from their £47.5 million signing of Werner, a deal that looked faultless at the time and make sure it's not one simply done on the numbers, however. Lukaku has further taught the Blues a sure-thing does not exist. Other issues must be resolved too.

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