Manchester United target Christian Nkunku signs new RB Leipzig deal with £51m release clause from 2023

Manchester United’s hopes of signing Christian Nkunku are over for this transfer window.

Nkunku has signed a new deal with RB Leipzig, extending his contract to 2026, the club confirmed. His previous deal was due to expire in 2024.

Manchester United were linked with Nkunku earlier this year, with ESPN reporting he had been added to the club’s list of transfer targets.

Nkunku scored 34 goals this past season and earned his first call-up to the France international squad.

Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

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Nkunku signs new RB Leipzig deal

The big twist in the deal, reported by Buli News, is that Nkunku has a release clause in his contract which can be activated from summer 2023.

The release clause is 60 million (£51 million). This is a very affordable deal for clubs, and would match the release clause Manchester City activated for Erling Haaland earlier this summer.

Speaking to Leipzig’s website, Nkunku said: “After our great achievement in winning the DFB-Pokal, it remained clear that my story here isn’t over yet – we want more! I was really impressed with the club’s efforts to keep me.”

Leipzig’s technical director Christopher Vivell added: “There are only a few players who can match the speed, flair and mentality that Christo possesses. In addition to that comes his incredible goal involvements this season.

“Christo has developed into one of the Bundesliga’s best players at Leipzig and has also become a regular with the France national team. This success story is something that we want to continue writing together.”

Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images

Manchester City’s move for Haaland was lined up weeks in advance, and signed off early in the transfer window.

If Manchester United are serious about paying Nkunku’s release clause in 2023, this will need to be set up early on, and not a deal the club start looking at next summer.

For now, Nkunku is not an option, and Manchester United additions to the forward line will have to come from elsewhere.

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