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How Chelsea could line up with Christopher Nkunku

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Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly is not messing around.

The American is looking to tie up some massive transfers as soon as possible with a view to reshaping the team in the summer of 2023, and one of the names towards the top of his wish list is RB Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku.

The Frenchman is one of the most in-demand forwards around at the minute. He racked up 20 goals and 15 assists in the Bundesliga last season and has already found the back of the net six times in just eight league games this time around.

Boehly is a big fan and sources have confirmed to 90min that Chelsea are now pursuing deals for both Nkunku and Leipzig teammate Josko Gvardiol, with a view to both players making the move to Stamford Bridge in the summer.

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Chelsea are not short on forwards, however – particularly those who you would not classify as an out-and-out striker – so just how he would fit into Graham Potter’s system is up in the air.

Here’s a few options Potter may consider if Boehly can get this deal done.

Potter has not been afraid to play two strikers, recently deploying Raheem Sterling up top alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace.

In this setup, Nkunku would take the secondary striker role. The 24-year-old is seen as more of a shadow striker and likes to drift around in search of the best position to impact the game, and that’s exactly what Potter has been looking for.

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Either side of the pairing would be advanced midfielders who would be tasked with flitting around and swapping places with Nkunku – a position in which Chelsea are very well-stocked.

Potential lineups

Kai Havertz (RW) – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ST) – Christopher Nkunku (ST) – Raheem Sterling (LW)

Christian Pulisic (RW) – Kai Havertz (ST) – Christopher Nkunku (ST) – Raheem Sterling (LW)

Kai Havertz (RW) – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ST) – Christopher Nkunku (ST) – Mason Mount (LW)

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Nkunku plays more like an attacking midfielder anyway, and with Potter known to be a fan of a 3-4-2-1 setup, he could deploy the Frenchman in that role to start with.

Happy on either side of the pitch, Nkunku could fill in wherever Potter needed him in this attacking setup and there are no shortage of players who could go alongside him.

Potential lineups

Christopher Nkunku (AM) – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ST) – Raheem Sterling (AM)

Christopher Nkunku (AM) – Kai Havertz (ST) – Mason Mount (AM)

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Kai Havertz (AM) – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ST) – Christopher Nkunku (AM)

Over the past few years, Chelsea’s starting striker has been one of these half-striker characters. Kai Havertz has had the honour more often than not, but Nkunku could now be deployed as an alternative.

It’s not a role he has played too often in the past, but Nkunku has proven capable of playing on his own up top when the time comes.

Potential lineups

Kai Havertz (AM) – Christopher Nkunku (ST) – Raheem Sterling (AM)

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Mason Mount (AM) – Christopher Nkunku (ST) – Raheem Sterling (AM)

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EPL

Al-Nassr offer Cristiano Ronaldo record-breaking contract

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Al-Nassr have offered Cristiano Ronaldo a contract that could make him the highest paid footballer in history, according to report.

The 37-year-old sensationally left Manchester United by mutual agreement earlier this month after he criticised the club’s players, manager and hierarchy in an explosive interview with Piers Morgan.

Ronaldo, who is currently away at the World Cup with Portugal, has been targeted by clubs in Saudi Arabia before, and turned down the opportunity to join Al-Hilal in the summer despite being offered over £300m to do so.

90min previously revealed that Al-Hilal were preparing a fresh offer for Ronaldo, but it’s believed they have turned their attention to Lionel Messi and other priorities – paving the way for Al-Nassr to try and engineer a move of their own.

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Ronaldo’s current intention is to remain in Europe, where he can continue to compete in the Champions League, but sources have confirmed to 90min that Al-Nassr have put forward a blockbuster contract offer to take him to Saudi Arabia.

Al-Nassr’s offer is believed to be a three-year deal worth close to £250m a year once add-ons, incentives and bonuses are factored in – eclipsing the huge contract Kylian Mbappe penned earlier this summer to remain at Paris Saint-Germain.

Ronaldo is yet to respond to Al-Nassr’s proposal, but his desire to continue competing at the highest level was made clear in the interview he conducted with Morgan.

Newcastle United, owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, and Chelsea are two Premier League teams to have previously been linked with Ronaldo.

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Marcus Rashford pays tribute to late friend with goal celebration

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Marcus Rashford has revealed that his celebration following his first goal against Wales was a tribute to a friend who’d recently passed away.

The Man Utd man was in electric form for the Three Lions on Tuesday evening, scoring a brace and catapulting himself to the top of the tournament goalscoring charts in the process. In scoring his second and third goal in Qatar, Rahsford became the first Man Utd player to score three goals at a World Cup for England since Sir Bobby Charlton achieved the feat way back in 1966.

Speaking after the game to the press, Rashford revealed that he pointed to the sky following his first goal in order to pay tribute to his friend who passed away following a long battle with cancer:

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“I lost one of my friends a couple of days ago. He had quite a long battle with cancer. I’m pleased I scored for him, he was a big supporter and good friend of mine. He was someone who came into my life.”

Rashford also gave an assessment of the game itself and his overall performance stating: “I fancied a free-kick in the first half, but the one in the second half was in a better position. From there it’s about being calm and executing what you do in training. They don’t go in often but I was glad it did today.

“It’s a great feeling. We were a bit disappointed after the USA game, and the only way to bounce back is to have a good performance in your next game; I thought we did it. It was just about taking the chances when they came.”

Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders and Toby Cudworth to look back on South Korea/Japan ’02 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!

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If you can’t see the podcast embed, click to download or listen to the episode in full!



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Tottenham ask Inter about availability of key player

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Tottenham Hotspur have made enquiries to Inter over right wing-back Denzel Dumfries, 90min understands.

Spurs are on the hunt for reinforcements at wing-back, with 90min previously reporting that one of Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty could be sold in January, while a loan move for Djed Spence looks likely.

On their list of targets is Dumfries, who is currently at the World Cup with the Netherlands. Inter need to sell one star player by the end of the season to help ease their financial woes.

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It was previously thought that Milan Skriniar would be the man to make way, but he will either sign a new contract or leave for free when his current deal expires at the end of the season.

Instead, Inter will look to sell Dumfries in January and loan him back for the rest of the season, though Spurs would push to take him off their hands straight away.

Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey in the latest episode of Talking Transfers, discussing Cristiano Ronaldo’s interview and his future, Man Utd’s interest in Cody Gakpo, plus the latest on Endrick and Rafael Leao. Available on all audio platforms.

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!

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In addition to Tottenham, Chelsea are also interested in the Dutchman, and this could drive Dumfries’ price up.

Dumfries signed for Inter in 2021 as a replacement for the outgoing Achraf Hakimi, whose sale partly contributed to the exit of current Spurs head coach Antonio Conte.

He scored five goals from wing-back in his debut season at San Siro and has found the net twice more this term.





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