“Real striker” Randal Kolo Muani is set to provide France a different threat to the injured Christopher Nkunku at the 2022 World Cup, reckon Eurosport’s European experts.
After reportedly being injured due to a training ground collision with Eduardo Camavinga at Clairefontaine, Nkunku left the French squad just days ahead of the Qatar showpiece, and saw Eintracht Frankurt’s Kolo Muani called up in his stead.
Despite Kolo Muani’s addition, Maxime Dupuis of Eurosport France explained that yet another injury – after the sidelined Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante also missed out on selection – has added further complications for Didier Deschamps and the World Cup holders.
“I won’t say ‘big’ but it is a problem, again,” Dupuis said. “Too many injuries for France. He [Nkunku] could have had a role but, at this time, it wasn’t a starting one.”
Nkunku was planned to be “back up behind [Antoine] Griezmann, like [Nabil] Fekir in 2018,” but Dupuis is sceptical about what Kolo Muani offers after featuring for France at the Olympics last year and in just two appearances for the senior side in 2022.
“The Olympics were too weird for the French team to be a real factor but… in the French [senior] team, he only played 12 minutes in two games in September,” Dupuis noted.
“He is lucky to be in the squad and is still lucky today to be in the 26. If it’s hard to know what he can bring on the pitch.
“I’m quite sure Deschamps liked what he saw off the pitch because he gives a lot of importance to the happiness of the dressing room.”
Eurosport Germany’s Florian Bogner praised Kolo Muani for his performances for Eintracht Frankfurt since arriving in the Bundesliga from Nantes last summer.
“He’s a nice addition to Frankfurt’s squad, almost like a missing piece,” Bogner said. “They were looking for a real striker since Luka Jovic left, and Kolo Muani seems to fill this void.
“In 23 games he has already contributed to 19 goals (eight goals, 11 assists). His special talent is that he is an assisting striker – he’s up front but always has a good eye for a teammate. He and Daichi Kamada made the difference in a lot of matches for Frankfurt.
“Nkunku is more the winger type of striker [like Kylian Mbappe], Kolo Muani is more a classic No. 9, but with a lot of technical skills and contribution to others.
“After a slow start, Nkunki was exceptional the last couple of weeks, scoring in almost every match (17 goals in 23 matches). He could have started for France, but that’s all over now.”