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The New Robben?

Samuel Chukwueze

After a breakout season for Villarreal, in which he helped them to avoid relegation and finish in 14th place with 7 goals and 2 assists in 24 La Liga appearances, Samuel Chukwueze seems to be attracting a lot of attention from other European clubs. Aiding this interest is the fact that at just 20 years old he has already been crowned Nigerian young player of the year back in 2018 and is already getting regular game time for the Nigerian national team.

The left-footed right winger was already gaining the attention of big European clubs before he shot into the limelight at the start of April, as he scored and provided an assist in a shock 4-4 draw with Barcelona. Now the transfer window is open, the Yellow Submarine will be nervous about their rising star heading to one of a host of European clubs and leaving the club facing the very real threat of relegation next season. Here we outline some of the clubs that could take a gamble on the youngster after just one season under his belt in a European league.

Liverpool are the team that look most likely to sign Chukwueze as things currently stand. Since Klopp has been in charge at Anfield, he has aided the development of several young players including Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez. Klopp seems to have a real affinity with getting the best out of young players and given the Nigerian’s potential seems evident already, it could be interesting to see how he can flourish under the talented German coach. This would also benefit Liverpool as they look to find alternative options on the wings to ease the burden on Salah and Mane. Throughout this window they will, most likely, be linked with a host of wingers as the rumour mill runs rampant but there is likely not to be a better cut-price alternative than Chukwueze, which would leave plenty of money for them to pursue other targets.

Another team that could also be one of the front runners, and are in a similar position to Liverpool are Bayern Munich. Given the departures of Ribery and Robben, the Bavarian club are also looking for wingers. He is likely to be offered much more game time at Bayern than he is at Liverpool, given the prominence of Liverpool’s front three, but this hugely dependent on who the club bring in between now and the end of the window. Chukwueze has already received many comparisions to the departing Dutchman due to his tendency to cut inside from the right flank, take on a defender and shoot. After seeing how Robben developed during his time in Munich, there may be no better replacement than the young Nigerian.

Some other clubs that have been linked with the 20-year-old are Manchester City, Atletico Madrid, Leicester, and Arsenal (who he almost joined in 2016 until the deal fell through at the last minute).

We would currently value him at around £9.8 million, but this valuation is likely to rise as he racks up appearances at club and international level. If Villarreal do relent and decide to sell, they will ensure that he does not come cheap. With a rumoured release clause of £54m, the Yellow Submarine may be unlikely to agree to a fee any lower. However, a transfer fee of around £25m could prove to be a shrewd investment for any of the aforementioned clubs.  Although, the current media hype after good performances in the African Cup of Nations, which saw the Super Eagles exit at the semi-final stage after a heartbreaking loss to Algeria as Riyad Mahrez struck a stoppage time free kick, could lead to Villareal accepting no lower than the player’s release clause.


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