Liverpool To Sign 35-Goal Forward For Just £51m As Perfect Kylian Mbappé Alternative
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Liverpool Can Sign 35-Goal Forward For Just £51m As Perfect Kylian Mbappé Alternative

A football transfer involves so many variables that it is sometimes a marvel that any agreements ever reach a successful conclusion.

The player must be willing to join their new team and be compensated to a level they think acceptable, the purchasing and selling teams must agree on a fee, and there will always be intermediaries vying for a piece of the action.

Liverpool Can Sign 35-Goal Forward For Just £51m As Perfect Kylian Mbappé Alternative

Liverpool Can Sign 35-Goal Forward For Just £51m As Perfect Kylian Mbappé Alternative

For teams like Liverpool, there are other components of a transaction to think about, most notably whether the player in question will give his or her best effort with a prospective new team and whether they satisfy Jürgen Klopp’s stringent criteria. The length of the player’s contract and its remaining value are both crucial factors from a financial perspective.

The Reds’ director of research, Ian Graham, has previously made clear that it is pointless for the club to approach players with several years left of their current deals as the costs involved would make any such deal a non-starter. Yet the stars could align to put Liverpool in place to sign a highly-coveted forward whose contract runs until 2026.

The man in question is RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku, who had a phenomenal campaign in 2021/22. Graham and his team of transfer analysts will be taking a deep dive into the 24-year-old’s numbers but even the headline stats provide a powerful portrait of his abilities.

With 19-non penalty goals, only six players in Europe’s biggest five leagues scored more (Nkunku ended up with 35 goals in all competitions and another 19 assists). Just four men topped his league tally of 13 goals provided for a teammate. If you want a footballer who bettered Nkunku in both of the most basic of attacking metrics then you’ve only got his international teammate Kylian Mbappé, and even wealthier clubs than Liverpool can’t afford his signature.

Thanks to their similar records over the last year, the Paris Saint-Germain striker shows up as one of the forwards with whom Nkunku is most similar (at least in the opinion of Statsbomb’s data). Where some people might question where Leipzig’s main man would fit into Klopp’s side, it’s not entirely hyperbolic to describe him as a one-man Liverpool front line.

Is 35-goal forward a perfect Kylian Mbappe alternative for Liverpool?

Top of his list of 10 most similar forwards on FBRef is Diogo Jota. More eye-opening is the dectet listed on the attacking midfielder/winger tab. At number six is Sadio Mané (a now-former Red, but I’m not yet ready to talk about it), with Luis Díaz fourth in the standings and Mohamed Salah top of the pile.

Even if Liverpool happens to be seeking a change of style for their attack and the acquisition of Darwin Núñez suggests that could be a distinct possibility other players to whom Nkunku is similar include Son Heung-min, Leroy Sané, Phil Foden, Kai Havertz and Karim Benzema. That’s one hell of a five-a-side team, even if it might be a touch too attacking for the purists.

If it wasn’t for the four years remaining on his recently extended contract, one can’t help but wonder if the Reds would’ve made a move for Nkunku this summer. However, you can guarantee they’ll have made a note that the French international now has a release clause of €60m (approximately £51m) which kicks in from next summer.,

Despite the fact that Transfermarkt’s player valuations are seldom completely correct, Nkunku is presently valued at £72 million, indicating that he will likely be a good deal in a year. This sentiment will only get stronger if he repeats his performance from 2021–2022 the following season.

Additionally, the Reds will be searching for a new forward in the summer of 2023 if Salah decides not to renew his contract with Liverpool. Although it will be tough to replace the Egyptian directly, the statistics indicate that Nkunku may replace Salah, Jota, Dáz, or Mané to a respectable amount. The timing for Liverpool to complete the next in their long string of fantastic forward deals, and from a club, they have worked with, may be ideal next year.

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