In Focus: Nkunku can give Leipzig's season the Chris of life
Christopher Nkunku has been a shining light in what has been a mediocre start to the season for RB Leipzig.
The 23-year-old Frenchman has already scored nine goals in all competitions, including a hat-trick in the 6-3 Champions League defeat at Manchester City.
And he will be looking to add to his four-goal tally in Europe tonight when he lines up against Paris Saint-Germain.
Nkunku spent almost a decade with the French giants and will be hoping to show them what they are missing as Leipzig — who sit bottom of Group A — bid to get their campaign back on track.
Nkunku has been a versatile option for coach Jesse Marsch, occupying a number of different positions in forward areas.
The American boss said: "Christo is so important to us now. I am happy he is in such great shape and that he is an important part of the team.
"He feels very good in the squad and on the pitch and he plays very well.
"Christo doesn't have any weaknesses on the pitch. It's very enjoyable working alongside him."
Nkunku takes up the role of a winger in most situations but has also been utilised in the No10 role, giving him more freedom in the final third of the pitch.
He is talented with the ball at his feet and defenders are often left in his wake thanks to an impressive burst of speed and his ability to drop the shoulder.
The adaptable forward is averaging three shots per game in the Champions League this season, which explains his high goalscoring output.
He also averages at least one key pass per game in both the Bundesliga and Europe, demonstrating his vision and creativity alongside his eye for goal.
Of course, some risk is attacked with such a forward-thinking mindset — and this is reflected in Nkunku being dispossessed an average of 2.2 times per game.
But his freedom and attacking prowess have been key in Leipzig scoring 32 goals in all competitions so far this term.
A manager's dream
One of the exciting attributes Nkunku demonstrates is his ability to create chances for himself.
This unpredictability is something Julian Nagelsmann admired. The ex-Leipzig boss said: "He's versatile and has real quality in one-on-one situations.
"I didn't want a forward who was restricted to just one position but can take up a number of positions during a game.
"Christopher can play as a box-to-box midfielder, No10, winger, striker."
Onwards and upwards
The resourceful attacker's toolbox has seen him find his way onto the radar of some of Europe's top clubs.
Nkunku had a number of admirers before he made his move to Leipzig in 2019.
And his performances and contributions for the German side have only heightened his notoriety.
The likes of Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Arsenal have all been linked with moves for the in-demand star.
Contracted until 2024, it would take an offer of at least £40million for Leipzig to even consider parting company with their prized asset.
But if Nkunku keeps producing the goods, there is likely to be a host of clubs battling to secure his signature in January.