Newcastle United chief Dan Ashworth is now officially in his first summer transfer window as the club’s sporting director.
The Magpies supremo has already signed Matt Targett on a permanent deal after the left-back’s loan spell at St. James’ Park last season and he will now be looking to add fresh faces to Eddie Howe’s team.
By bringing Nkunku to St. James’ Park, Newcastle can land their own version of Lyon dynamo Lucas Paqueta – with a deal for the Ligue 1 gem seemingly off the cards.
Journalist Jacque Talbot claimed, earlier this month, that a deal for the Brazilian midfielder is “unlikely” due to his potential price and the Toon should now turn their attentions to the Leipzig star as his statistics show that he is worth paying a big fee for.
In the 2021/22 campaign, Paqueta managed nine goals and six assists in 35 Ligue 1 games for Lyon as he averaged a SofaScore rating of 7.13. This is an impressive return and one that makes him look like an excellent signing for the Magpies on paper, given that no Newcastle player hit those figures in the Premier League.
Nkunku, meanwhile, registered an outstanding 20 goals and 13 assists in the Bundesliga for Leipzig, averaging a rating of 7.59. This shows that he performed to a higher standard than Bruno Guimaraes’ former teammates in terms goals, assists, and all-round displays.
FB Ref lists them as similar players based on their statistics over the last 365 days, although the stats suggest that the Frenchman has the edge.
Both of them are capable of playing in a multitude of attacking roles and are players Howe could use in a variety of ways but Nkunku is more of a threat in the final third based on his form from the season just gone.
He was once dubbed “glorious” by journalist Andrew Dickson and former Leipzig boss Jesse Marsch previously heaped praise on the gem, saying: “Christopher has no weaknesses. He is young and still wants a lot more. Working with him is a lot of fun as he is really intelligent and has a lot of potential.”
These comments suggest that Nkunku, who turns 25 in November, also has scope to improve further and improve in the future. This means that he would be an excellent signing for the club in the short and long-term.
Therefore, the Magpies must snap up a deal for the Frenchman as he would be a dream alternative to Paqueta and be Howe’s own version of the Brazilian, given that they are both versatile, 24-year-old, attackers who can make a big impact in the final third.