CHRISTOPHER NKUNKU is close to finally making his Chelsea debut.
The £52million signing from RB Leipzig is yet to kick a ball in a competitive game for the Blues after suffering a knee injury in pre-season.
Christopher Nkunku will provide Chelsea with a selection headache when he returns from injuryGetty
Mauricio Pochettino certainly missed Nkunku’s goals as Chelsea struggled early on.
And it remains to be seen whether Nkunku slots straight into the starting XI when he gets the green light to play.
His return to the fray could see Pochettino handed a selection dilemma too.
Conor Gallagher has emerged as a key figure alongside Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo.
Meanwhile, Raheem Sterling and Cole Palmer are proving their worth alongside Nicolas Jackson up top.
Expensive wonderkids like Mykhailo Mudryk are also knocking on the door, and there could yet be a new striker arriving in January.
Here, SunSport’s Anthony Chapman looks at three ways Jackson can fit into Chelsea’s team…
Should Pochettino with his usual system, Nkunku would be best suited slotting in as a No10.
Stand-in skipper Gallagher would therefore be the likely candidate to drop out of the side.
And it could make Chelsea more vulnerable to counter-attacks.
But Nkunku’s presence alongside Jackson in the final third would work great in games where Chelsea have the lion’s share of the ball.
And it would also allow him to continue his fine goal-scoring form after hitting 58 goals in his final two seasons at Leipzig.
This system would see Nkunku deployed as the main striker at the expense of Jackson.
Gallagher can come back into the side to shore up midfield.
And the added protection could provide playmaker Enzo Fernandez with a more advanced role.
However, it would mean Chelsea lack a real physical presence up top.
And Nkunku may also be forced to come deep to link up the midfield with the attack.
Poch loved this formation at the start of the season and continued using a variation of it until Ben Chilwell’s injury.
Nkunku could come in as a supporting forward alongside Jackson, with the width from the wing-backs allowing him to drift between lines with ease.
The shape could even see him sit in the hole behind Jackson and Sterling.
But Nkunku would also be expected to get to the byline to avoid overcrowding the centre of the field.
And after his knee injury, the Frenchman may not be the fastest down the wing any longer.