Fiorentina have begun their training in Moena, and the squad is so thin they can only play 8-on-8. It’s hardly surprising, then, that they’re being linked to a host of players, including PSG teenager Christopher Nkunku. The 19-year-old midfielder is hard-working, versatile, and has a wealth of talent, as evidenced by his 10 caps for the France U20s already.
Nkunku is probably best known for his unbelievably brilliant brace against Real Madrid in the U19 Champions League a couple of years ago, but he’s been more of a steadily-improving player than one who explodes onto the scene fully-formed. He earned a role on the substitutes’ bench for the French giants this season, making 12 senior appearances across all competitions and notching 2 goals and 2 assists.
While he seems to prefer operating in the center of the pitch, he’s equally comfortable on the wing, although he tends to drift inside and get involved rather than staying wide and stretching the play. He’s got an impressive turn of pace, a knack for ghosting past defenders, and he also likes to have a pop from distance. He’s at his best lurking around the edge of the area. His skill-set makes him a perfect backup for Riccardo Saponara.
He’d probably operate as a supersub for the Viola, fighting for minutes with Ianis Hagi in the attacking three. He’s probably not quite ready to be an everyday starter, but he could certainly handle a regular role off the bench. It’d be a bit frustrating if he didn’t earn some sort of gig right away, as he’ll cost around €3.5 million, but he’s the sort of intelligent footballer you want to keep around. As rightfully furious as we all are at Pantaleo Corvino, the prospect of Saponara, Federico Chiesa, Hagi, and Nnunku working behind a striker is undeniably exciting and demonstrates that the Crow is, as ever, playing the long game.