finally back from injury, Christopher Nkunku launches his time trial race six months before the Euro

Five and a half months after his transfer from Leipzig to Chelsea, Christopher Nkunku, recovered from a knee injury, should play his first minutes in the Premier League on Sunday against Wolverhampton.

France Télévisions – Sports Editorial


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Christopher Nkunku during the penalty shootout between Chelsea and Newcastle, won by the Blues, on December 9 in the English League Cup.  (ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP)

He was to be part of the Blue group finalist for the 2022 World Cup, but had to abandon the World Cup the day before departure for Qatar, injured in the knee during the last training in Clairefontaine. Since this episode, Christopher Nkunku has had a dotted year 2023, marked by injuries that the attacker now hopes to leave behind him. A Chelsea player since last summer, he played his first minutes in the Blues jersey in the League Cup on Tuesday December 19, and should make his Premier League debut on Sunday, against Wolverhampton, just over six months old. of the Euro.

Germany, where he had the finest hours of his career so far with RB Leipzig, notably finishing as top scorer in the Bundesliga last season (16 goals), Christopher Nkunku would like to find her again next June, in the jersey bruises. But to achieve this objective, the attacker will embark on a race against time. Injured in the knee for five and a half months, during the summer preparation with Chelsea, the Frenchman is barely returning to the field, while his competitors in his position, Randal Kolo Muani and Marcus Thuram are starting to settle into the French team . “Nothing is set in stoneassures Loïc Rémy, former Chelsea and Blues player, and consultant for Francetvsport. A team is being put in place, of course, but the Euro is in six months. He leaves late, but he has time to change the situation with his club performances“.

Expected as a savior in a gloomy context for Chelsea

To change the situation, Christopher Nkunku will quickly have to get into the swing of the Premier League, a physical championship that he will discover with the status of an expected player, top scorer in the Bundesliga last season. His club Chelsea, in difficulty since the start of the season (6 wins, 4 draws, 7 defeats) and 10th in the standings, is also counting on him to find a European place. “It’s a big transfer (60 million euros according to the specialized site Transfermarkt), and with the club’s current situation, he is a bit expected as the savior, but I think the club is smart enough to protect him so he doesn’t relapse. Because it would be a double punishment, for the club, and for him.”analyzes Loïc Rémy.

Recent statements from his coach, Mauricio Pochettino, point in this direction. “My concern would be to put too much pressure on him, to say ‘Here’s the guy who’s going to make us win every game, who’s going to change everything.’ I do not believe it. He needs time to get back into shape.”, assured the Argentine coach at a press conference on Monday. At Chelsea, he will have to find a place in the middle of a squad that is constantly being renewed. The London club recorded 14 arrivals and 15 departures last summer and this does not prevent Mauricio Pochettino from planning for the winter transfer window, which opens on January 1. “We need to discuss and try to improve in the next transfer market”warned the latter at the beginning of December, which could bring competition to the Frenchman.

In a team which often lacked efficiency in the first part of the season, Christopher Nkunku will almost act as a rookie. He gained confidence for his first minutes in the Blues jersey with a successful shot on goal against Newcastle in the League Cup (1-1, 4-2 tab) and will now try to find the net again in the game, to hope to be recalled to the French team. He has not worn the French colors since June and played thirty minutes in the Nations League, and is still chasing his first goal for the Blues after 10 caps. Since its premiere in March 2022, Didier Deschamps has systematically called him when he was not injured.

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