Victor Osimhen: Will the Napoli forward join a Premier League team?

Victor Osimhen
Victor Osimhen is still wearing a protective mask even after recovering from a serious cheekbone and eye injury in 2021

Victor Osimhen has become the envy of Europe’s top clubs with his blockbuster performances for Napoli this season and says his dream is to play in the Premier League – so could that happen and what would he bring?

Napoli have been one of the surprise packages this season – and are 18 points clear at the top of Serie A and are close to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

They host Eintracht Frankfurt in the round of 16 second leg on Wednesday after winning their first game in Germany 2-0.

Nigerian striker Osimhen, 24, is Serie A’s top scorer with 19 goals in 22 games, five more than Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez.

Only Manchester City’s Erling Haaland and Tottenham’s Harry Kane have scored more goals than Osimhen in Europe’s top five leagues.

A proper number nine, his 6ft 1in frame, pace and finish make him almost unplayable at times.

Now what kind of man who dear Chelsea legend Didier Drogba and turned down the chance to join Arsenal?

Will Osimhen join the Premier League?

Europe's top scorers

Osimhen, who played for Wolfsburg, Charleroi and Lille before joining Napoli in 2020, recently made headlines when he said: “I’m working so hard to achieve my dream of playing in the Premier League one day.

“It’s a process and I just want to keep that momentum and keep doing well.

“A lot of people around the world think the Premier League is the best and strongest league, but now I’m in one of the best leagues in the world, Italy’s Serie A.”

However, a move to England might not be easy as Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis is a larger than life figure and a difficult negotiator.

James Horncastle, an Italian football expert, continued The Football Daily podcast from BBC Radio 5 Live that Osimhen would cost more than €100m (£89m) and ‘probably closer to’ €150m (£133m).

Only Paris St-Germain duo Neymar and Kylian Mbappe have ever signed for a fee of £133m or more.

The current UK transfer record is Chelsea’s £107million signing of Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez in January.

Horncastle added: “The only thing to counter the inevitability so often projected from the entitlement of Premier League clubs and fans is that, ultimately, Napoli are never easy to deal with.

“There’s a reason Kalidou Koulibaly only joined Chelsea in his 30s having been linked with the Premier League for five years.”

Chelsea signed Senegalese defender Koulibaly, 31, from Napoli for £35million last summer – after first trying to sign him in 2016.

Discussing Napoli’s all-time top scorer, Horncastle continued: “Chelsea were willing to sign Dries Mertens when Frank Lampard was the manager [in 2020] and instead he just goes [last summer to Galatasaray] when Napoli said we won’t give you a new deal.

“It will be the same with Victor Osimhen. I am sure that many clubs will contact the president and after a month of negotiations they will think is it really worth it? That has always been De Laurentiis’ great strength. “

Horncastle added: “He hasn’t indicated that a move to the Premier League is imminent but it’s something he’s working on and it will happen when it happens.”

Who could want Osimhen?

Few clubs could afford Osimhen, who has scored 15 goals in 22 games for Nigeria.

“I don’t think his point of view is surprising considering the Premier League is the best in the world where clubs can make the most money – with the exception of PSG, Real Madrid or Barcelona to some extent,” he told Hornburg .

Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, PSG and Real Madrid are just a few of the teams that have recently been linked with the forward. Osimhen is a regular at the BBC gossip column.

The Blues could be a possible target as Graham Potter’s side spent £289million on signings in January alone and are still in need of a proper striker.

No Chelsea player has yet scored in double figures and their only fit forward, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, has scored three goals and been left out of the Champions League squad.

Additionally, Osimhen has consistently spoken out about his love for a blues icon in fellow African forward Drogba.

“I took Drogba as my role model growing up and that was the guiding light,” he said in 2021. “Watching him a lot and the kind of mentality he has really helped me get there a lot get to where I am today.”

Manchester United are also desperate for a striker – Cristiano Ronaldo is gone, Wout Weghorst is on loan and Anthony Martial has been struggling with injuries.

Osimhen is not a one-year miracle

Osimhen’s global profile has risen dramatically this season with Napoli flying in Europe and at home – but he’s been impressive for several years now.

When Napoli signed him from Lille almost three years ago, they initially paid £65million, then a record fee for an African player.

Osimhen agreed to move to Europe in 2016 to join German club Wolfsburg and signed a professional contract the following year after his 18th birthday.

“Arsenal wanted me and I’m honored to have been invited. But personally, I think Wolfsburg is a ladder for me to achieve my professional goals.” he told BBC Sport at the time.

After failing to score in 16 games for Wolfsburg, he went on probation at several Belgian clubs but Club Brugge and Zulte Waregem didn’t pick him up, so he went on loan to Charleroi.

He scored 20 goals and was named Charlerois Player of the Year. The Belgian club activated a clause to make this deal permanent in May 2019.

Victor Osimhen
Victor Osimhen (centre) first made headlines in 2015 when he scored ten goals in seven games at the Fifa U17 World Cup, which Nigeria won

Wolfsburg certainly regret this clause as Charleroi paid €3.5m for him and sold him to Lille for €12.5m two months later.

He scored 18 goals in his one season in France, including one in the Champions League against Chelsea, and was named Lille’s player of the year.

He then moved to Napoli for €70m and scored 49 goals in 89 games for the Italians.

But a word of warning to any potential suitor: Osimhen has been a season-long rebound from injuries and has 40 games left in a season.

He had major injuries in both seasons in Germany and the problems have returned in Italy. He has missed 14, nine and four (so far) Serie A games in his three seasons due to various injuries.

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