Chelsea are pushing to finalise a pre-contract agreement with Christopher Nkunku and are willing to sign the RB Leipzig forward for more than his £52.8m release clause next summer.
It emerged last week that Nkunku underwent medical checks with Chelsea at the end of the previous transfer window. The club are extremely keen on buying the 24-year-old, who can play in a number of positions across the front line, and are attempting to see off competition for the France international. They could do so by offering Leipzig more than Nkunku’s release clause.
Sources have indicated that no contracts have been signed but there is widespread confidence that Nkunku will become a Chelsea player. The Frenchman scored 35 goals for Leipzig last season and has opened this campaign with eight goals in 12 appearances. Nkunku, who has been linked with Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, scored twice as Leipzig ran out 4-0 winners over Bochum in the Bundesliga last Saturday.
Chelsea are in the middle of rebuilding their attack. They sold Timo Werner back to Leipzig last summer, loaned Romelu Lukaku to Internazionale and were open to selling Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech. A lack of ruthlessness let them down last season and they looked to solve their goalscoring woes by signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Raheem Sterling.
Aubameyang scored his first goal for Graham Potter’s side during Saturday’s 2-1 win at Crystal Palace, and Sterling has found the net four times since his move from Manchester City, but Chelsea want to add Nkunku.
Chelsea, who are looking to appoint a sporting director and a technical director, also made a late attempt to sign the Leipzig centre-back Josko Gvardiol. They are likely to renew their interest in the Croatia international, with a move for him possible in January.