Liverpool have identified RB Leipzig attacking midfielder Christopher Nkunku as the next man to evolve their forward line, according to a report.
Finding new options in the final third has been a task Liverpool have had to think hard about in recent months. Roberto Firmino is now 30 years old and has lost his place in the starting lineup to Diogo Jota.
In addition, the 29-year-old Sadio Mane could be at risk after his form dropped over the past couple of seasons.
The former Southampton star is currently away on African Cup of Nations duty for Senegal, like his Egyptian teammate Mohamed Salah. Both of their contracts expire in 2023.
Liverpool are working to extend Salah’s deal and would like to keep Mane around too. However, in the long-term, he could be at risk when it comes to the starting lineup.
The Premier League club continue to be linked with other attackers who can succeed Mane in the long-term. For example, there have been rumours of interest in Arnaut Danjuma of Villarreal, Luis Diaz of Porto or Jeremy Doku of Rennes.
But according to Fichajes, the player Liverpool may actually move for is Christopher Nkunku of RB Leipzig. Indeed, they conclude that he “could be the one who ends up arriving”.
The France international has thrived since leaving Paris Saint-Germain in 2019. Adapting his role to become more of a threat in the final third, he scored five goals in his first season in Germany and seven in his second.
This term, he has already surpassed those figures combined. So far, Nkunku has scored 17 goals from 27 games in 2021-22.
Liverpool targeting Nkunku transfer
His form has long seen him linked with a transfer to the Premier League. Ralf Rangnick has been tipped to attract him to Manchester United, whose rivals Manchester City have already been battling the likes of Chelsea and Newcastle for his signature.
Now, Fichajes believe Liverpool are in contention to seal the Nkunku transfer. Aware they need to evolve their attack, particularly in Mane’s place, they are ready to join the race.
Nkunku’s value is rising all the time, but he could cost around €50m according to current estimations.
And tactically, he is seen as an ideal fit for Liverpool’s style under Jurgen Klopp. Whether they are willing to spend that big on him remains to be seen.
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If Liverpool do not get their way, they may not just have to worry about replacing Mane, but also Salah.
Salah is said to be asking for £400,000 in weekly wages to sign another contract on Merseyside. That figure would make him the highest earner in the Premier League and well within the top 10 of the world.
Anfield chiefs don’t want to go that high. It is a staggering amount of money for a club of their financial stature, but also one that Salah warrants.
The Egyptian King is one of the best in the game right now. And as such, The Mirror claim he is ‘refusing to budge’ on his valuation of himself.
Experienced journalist Darren Lewis believes that if Liverpool don’t choose to agree with their star man, he will come to haunt them for many years to come due to his excellent conditioning.
Speaking on Sky Sports News, he said: “I think they’re under pressure anyway because they can’t possibly allow a player like Salah [to leave].
“Not just at the peak of his powers, you look at his finishing we see it on a week-to-week basis we know all about just how outstanding he is in front of goal, but also you look at the way he looks after himself as well.
“He’s 29 years of age. You look around Europe, you see Lewandowski who’s a few years older still banging in the goals.
“Ronaldo looks after himself, he’s several years older still banging in the goals.
“You could see Salah remaining at the peak of his powers for quite some time to come. They cannot afford to take that risk because Salah will continue to score goals.
“He’ll continue to have a huge impact on big teams and Liverpool surely cannot afford to let that happen.
“The final thing is, if you do let him go where is the next big thing to replace him?”
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