Arsenal are reportedly weighing up a move for RB Leipzig midfielder Christopher Nkunku in the January transfer window. The Gunners are desperate to land a creative player next month and the 23-year-old is one of the names on their list of targets.
Mikel Arteta’s side have created just 111 chances – the 16th worst record in the Premier League this season – and have scored just 15 goals in 15 games so far, even after their impressive 3-1 win over Chelsea on Saturday.
Chief creator Mesut Ozil has not been included in the squads for the Premier League or Europa League after being frozen out of the first team set-up.
His exclusion, alongside the inconsistent form of attackers like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Willian and Nicolas Pepe has been an issue for Arteta this campaign.
The Gunners lack creation from central midfield too, where Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny, Thomas Partey and Dani Ceballos have failed to offer a spark.
That dearth of invention in the centre of the pitch led Arsenal to pursue Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar in the summer transfer window and, more recently, Red Bull Salzburg’s Dominik Szoboszlai, but they ultimately failed in a move for either.
Aouar has said he is happy at the French club, who currently sit top of the Ligue 1 table, having suffered just one defeat so far this season, while Szoboszlai opted to join Salzburg’s sister club Leipzig in January, meaning the Arsenal hierarchy have been forced to look elsewhere.
The search, which is being led by technical director Edu, has brought Leipzig’s Nkunku into the picture, according to The Athletic.
The French midfielder is versatile, having played right across the midfield under Julian Nagelsmann this season, and has been on the Gunners’ radar since former head of recruitment Sven Mislintat pushed for his signing the January 2019 window.
Nkunku has scored three goals and registered three assists across 16 games in all competitions for Leipzig this season and was in brilliant form before picking up an ankle injury earlier this month.
He scored in back-to-back Bundesliga matches against Arminia Bielefeld and Bayern Munich before assisting one in Leipzig’s 3-2 win over Manchester United, which dumped Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side out of the Champions League on December 8.
Nkunku is reportedly joined on Arsenal’s wishlist by Borussia Dortmund midfielder Julian Brandt and Barcelona’s Riqui Puig, while Norwich City’s creative midfielder Emi Buendia has been attracting interest from Premier League clubs too.
Brandt was out of favour at Dortmund under Lucien Favre and the 24-year-old has remained on the bench for each of Edin Terzic’s first two Bundesliga games in charge at Signal Iduna Park.
Meanwhile, 21-year-old Puig has fallen out with Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman, sparking speculation he could move away from Camp Nou in the January transfer window.