These Chelsea stars could soon be sidelined to pave the way for Nkunku’s inclusion
Christopher Nkunku is finally set to return to Chelsea’s ranks. Fabrizio Romano reports that the French international who officially joined the Blues from RB Leipzig this summer, will be back to full fitness by the end of this month or latest by the beginning of December. The 25-year-old has spent the last three months away from the pitch after picking up an injury during the Blues pre-season. Nkunku was widely expected to be the attacking focal point of this young rebuilding side under Mauricio Pochettino. His return now puts that plan back on track, as Pochettino patiently awaits the selection headache of who to sacrifice to accommodate his star frontman.
These Chelsea stars may be dropped soon to make way for Christopher Nkunku
Chelsea will not rush Nkunku back into full starter minutes. However, come next year the French forward is sure to play an important role in this CFC side. This young Blues team has lacked goals and a consistent attacking threat. Our current 10th place standing in the Premier League reflects that lack of clinicality. Up until his injury Nkunku had three goals in five preseason appearances for CFC. The Frenchman was also the Bundesliga’s top scorer before arriving, displaying all the instinctual goal scoring attributes that the Blues are in dire need of up top.
It’s hard to dig at Nicolas Jackson when he’s just scored his first Premier league hat-trick against Tottenham. However, his finishing only improved when Spurs came down to nine men. Jackson has also consistently faced struggles finding the net throughout the beginning of this campaign. The Senegalese striker currently ranks fourth among all players in the Premier league for big chances missed.
The Blues 2-2 draw against Arsenal also showed that we can still thrive going forward without a traditional No. 9. In that game Cole Palmer slotted into the false 9 position, a role that he’s never featured in, but Nkunku is actually more accustomed to. Unless Jackson’s performances continue to progress, Pochettino could consider experimenting with Nkunku as the sole man up top along with Palmer, Sterling or Mudryk to his side.
Another player who’s playing time could be in jeopardy upon Nkunku’s return is Conor Gallagher. From an objective standpoint Gallagher shouldn’t be in contention to be dropped. The Englishman is currently second among CFC players for assists this season with three, one less than Cole Palmer. Gallagher has also created 17 chances this season, showing that he can provide depth to the team not only defensively but also going forward. For some reason though the 23-year-old has always seemed expendable.
Whether it’s because he’s a homegrown product that didn’t arrive for record breaking transfer fees like Enzo Fernandez or because he’s not always on the scoresheet, Gallagher’s efforts go underappreciated. Nevertheless, he still could be one of the players sacrificed in that attacking midfielder role for Pochettino to play Jackson along with Nkunku behind him as a second striker. It’s unlikely that the gaffer drops an experienced winger in Raheem Sterling whose performances have bettered as of late. Cole Palmer currently has the most goal contributions this season for Chelsea and the Fernandez-Caicedo midfield partnership costs a combined £222m for the club. Gallagher by default becomes unfortunately the next best option to drop.