Premier League’s most-wanted among five players whose value has soared this season

Ian Watson
Christopher Nkunku, Darwin Nunez and Arnaut Danjuma would all fetch huge fees this summer.

One of Europe’s hottest properties, Darwin Nunez, scored six goals last season while ‘one of the best wingers in the world’ was in the Championship.

Here are five players whose value has skyrocketed this term…

 

Christopher Nkunku
RB Leipzig pulled off another masterstroke when they took Nkunku from PSG in 2019. For the France Under-21 international, the Germans paid around £12million. Three years on, it would cost the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea somewhere in the region of five times that fee to land the 24-year-old.

Nkunku enjoyed a solid start to life in the Bundesliga despite Covid ravaging his first season at Leipzig. The versatile attacking midfielder scored five goals then six in his opening two campaigns before catching fire this term.

The Paris-born star has bagged 20 league goals and 34 in 50 appearances in all competitions. Such form has caught the eye of clubs across Europe, with the asking price varying from £50million to £65million and most recently £85million depending on which report you believe.

That’s if Leipzig are willing to sell, which they are not. Or they’re determined to play hardball: “I’ve said it many times and I’m happy to say it again: Nkunku will still be our player in the coming season,” said Leipzig chief-exec Oliver Mintzlaff last week.

 


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Arnaut Danjuma
The Holland winger didn’t let a relegation at Bournemouth affect his confidence…

“It’s fair and factual to say I’m among the best wingers in the world,” he proclaimed last month and given his form for Villarreal this season, it’s hard to argue with the 25-year-old.

This season was his first in Spain and there were some eyebrows raised when Villarreal made him their record signing by paying Bournemouth £21.3million while they were in the second tier. But 16 goals and four assists in 34 appearances have made it a savvy investment – one they could easily double or possibly triple by selling Danjuma this summer.

There is plenty of interest. Liverpool and Manchester United are said to be keen, while Newcastle and Tottenham have also been linked.

 

 

Darwin Nunez
Last season, Nunez scored six league goals for Benfica. Now he’s the centre-forward many managers can’t live without this summer…

The Uruguay striker has made himself one of the hottest properties going into the transfer window by bagging 34 goals and offering four assists in 41 appearances this term. Can he do it at the highest level? Goals in the Champions League against Bayern Munich and Barcelona, and strikes home and away against Liverpool, suggest it shouldn’t be a problem.

It took Nunez a year to adapt at Benfica after his club-record move from Almeria for around £18million. He started just fine, offering five assists in his first four games but then got a dose of the ‘rona and went four months without scoring between January and April.

After undergoing knee surgery in the summer, Nunez hasn’t stopped scoring. Benfica chose not to sell in January, waiting until the summer when they could at least triple their investment, though 20% of any fee they receive from one of the big boys will have to go straight to Almeria.

 

Tino Livramento
The full-back’s move from Chelsea to Southampton last summer barely raised an eyebrow; Livramento was just another academy graduate to fail to make the breakthrough at Stamford Bridge so off he toddled in search of a regular game.

But Ralph Hasenhuttl knew what was coming, despite the £5million England Under-19 international failing to play a senior game for the Blues. “He’s one of the best young players in his position in the country and there were a lot of clubs interested in signing him.”

Indeed. Aston Villa, AC Milan and RB Leipzig were understood to have been keen and it quickly became clear why. Livramento went straight into the first team and made the right-back spot his own before a wretchedly-timed knee injury at Brighton last month which looks set to sideline the teenager for the rest of 2022.

Had he not suffered that misfortune, Livramento would have attracted plenty of interest this summer. Chelsea reportedly have the option to buy back the 19-year-old for £25million, which now appears a bargain.

Michael Olise celebrates his goal

Michael Olise
Crystal Palace did some every astute business last summer, taking Marc Guehi from Chelsea for £20million while borrowing Conor Gallagher – both become England internationals as Eagles this season. The signing of Olise went somewhat under the radar, coming as it did for £8million, which was the buy-out clause stipulated in his Reading contract.

That is not to say that Olise was unknown – he was named EFL Young Player of the Season last year. But few expected the impact the 20-year-old has made in the Premier League in his maiden campaign.

His Premier League numbers – two goals and two assists – are nothing special and he has come off the bench more often than he has started. But so often when he has featured, Olise has tormented top-flight left-backs, all the while carrying an air of a lad for whom this is all a bit too easy.

Arsenal are said to have taken notice of Olise’s start and Palace aren’t taking any chances. They are already talking to the France Under-21 international about new terms, primarily to increase his £35million buy-out clause, which currently looks like a bargain.