Christopher Nkunku had long dreamed of moving to Paris Saint-Germain.
But the 2021/22 Bundesliga Player of the Season appears to be heading to Chelsea following the departure of Thomas Tuchel despite Manchester United and Liverpool desperately seeking to sign him.
The attacking midfielder netted a hat-trick for Leipzig in their 6-3 loss to Manchester City in the Champions League last year.
He ended the campaign with 20 goals and 13 assists in the German top flight.
And he even moved ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe in the Champions League scoring charts despite Leipzig’s elimination in the group stage!
So far this year, he has scored six goals in 11 games, Leipzig being tenth.
Still, despite intense interest from England over the summer, Nkunku remained in Germany and signed a new contract.
The French international also indicated that he would like to return to PSG if he had to leave Leipzig: “Paris, I have always said it, it is my home, my heart club.
“I don’t close any doors. Everything is possible in football. It’s flattering that the biggest clubs in the world are interested in me. But it’s also flattering that Leipzig are doing everything to keep me.
Man United’s interest in Nkunku grew rapidly when Ralf Rangnick arrived as caretaker manager late last year.
The German was Leipzig’s sporting director involved in the negotiations which brought the Frenchman to the club from PSG in 2019.
On signing for Leipzig, Nkunku said: “I feel like I’m blossoming and being liberated. Changing clubs wasn’t such a bad idea. Now I can say it’s better to get out of his comfort zone to grow.
Although Rangnick has since left Old Trafford, United’s interest in Nkunku has remained.
Arsenal were among the player’s suitors when limited playing time meant Nkunku would leave PSG three years ago.
Leipzig signed him on a five-year, £11million deal, but Chelsea, United and Liverpool have since joined the race to sign him after his performances last season.
But the Blues have moved ahead of their rivals and the player looks set for Stamford Bridge next year.
Nkunku had a medical in Germany over the summer and is expected to cost £53million, but Liverpool are also interested.
However, now that Tuchel has left Chelsea, the west London side may have a better chance of beating their rivals to his signature.
Nkunku isn’t the German’s biggest fan after being frozen out by him at PSG, speaking to Canal Plus he said: “Tuchel’s arrival made me think.
“Starting a season without really knowing what role you’re going to have is quite complicated.
“There comes a time when you reach the end of your contract and you have a year left, either you extend or you leave, I made the choice to simply leave.”
Nkunku’s decision to leave the Parc des Princes has certainly paid off, but his form didn’t stop Leipzig parting ways with current Leeds boss Jesse Marsch last December.
Yet before leaving the club, the American hailed his star man after playing him on the pitch as a No.10, No.8 or winger this season.
“We talked a lot to Christopher about playing on the counter, and also what he needs to do to play as a striker, No.10 and on both wings,” Marsch said.
“Christopher has no weaknesses. He is young and still wants a lot more.
“It’s always a good thing when a young player listens to the things we say and also wants to implement them.
“Working with him is great fun because he’s really smart and has a lot of potential.”
Lining up against his former boss on a trip to Elland Road next season will be another chance for Nkunku to prove he has turned his potential into performance…
Watch the World Cup with talkSPORT
At talkSPORT we’re powered by fans, so come join us for the ultimate World Cup fan experience this winter – in the talkSPORT fan zone.
In a huge covered room under the arches of Waterloo in London, we will bring you live screenings of every World Cup game.
There will be Q&A with talkSPORT talent, you’ll be part of our live shows and plenty of food and drink will be on offer too.
Come and have the best World Cup fan experience in London – and enjoy a free pint – with tickets for the England and Wales group stage matches on sale now HERE!