Unai Emery feels Samuel Chukwueze has declined this season despite reports linking Liverpool, Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers with the Villarreal winger, speaking to Marca.
The so-called ‘Nigerian Robben’ may have made a match-winning contribution off the bench last week, winning a penalty Gerard Moreno converted to seal a 1-1 draw with Real Madrid, but history didn’t repeat itself on Sunday.
Chukwueze failed to make any sort of impact as Villarreal were held again, this time by La Liga leaders Real Sociedad in a tense, top-of-the-table clash.
That means the 21-year-old winger has scored just five times in his last 55 games.
So amid claims Chukwueze is a target for Liverpool, Everton, Wolves and Leicester City, the Nigeria international is clearly far from the finished article (90Min).
“We need Samu to settle after two years of irregularity in the first team,” former Arsenal and PSG boss Emery explains, suggesting Chukwueze’s form has dipped since the start of the season.
“We need him to make the difference and this year he’s doing it to a lesser extent (than before).
“I opted for him at the Anoeta (against Real Sociedad), with the idea he’d win us the game – but it wasn’t to be. We’ll continue to work with him on it.”
Emery isn’t the first to question Chukwueze’s lack of end product.
Barcelona and Inter Milan legend Samuel Eto’o believes the winger is an “incredible” talent but needs to add a ruthless streak to his speed and skill if he’s to justify that prohibitive £80 million price tag (Goal).