Nigeria’s bullish striker, Victor Osimhen, is no doubt giving Napoli sleepless nights as the Serie A giants are presently doing everything humanly possible to keep their most valuable asset away from rival clubs in Europe.
To scare away suitors like Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle, Napoli had fixed a whopping €150 million as asking price for the gangling striker. However, the clubs that are desperate to boost their attack with the consistent goalscorer can heave a sigh of relief now as Napoli have cut down the high fee to €120 million.
For a club like Chelsea, even at the initial €150 million wouldn’t have posed a very serious challenge. It will be recalled that the club which struggled for life in the Premiership this season has so far splashed over £553.95m on players under new owner, Todd Boehly.
However, it is also an open secret that the president Napoli, Aurelio De Laurentiis, is keeping something up his sleeves as he is said to be working discreetly to keep his priceless asset. The Nigerian is being enticed with improved wages and a more flexible release clause to make him stay for two more years. Napoli is said to be prepared to offer Osimhen a staggering €7 million salary, a remarkable increase from his current earnings of €4.5 million. And to achieve this without contravening any law, the club is ready to cut down the wages of some of Osimhen’s teammates.
If he eventually lands such an enhanced deal, he would have become the highest-paid player in Napoli’s history, underlining his importance to the team.
Even as the Parthenopeans are desperate to retain the services of the 2015 U-17 World Cup winner, he has not hidden the fact that he wants to also have a few of the English Premiership. Chelsea, Newcastle, Manchester United and others secretly eying him must be motivated by this open confession.
“I think playing in one of the top five leagues in the world (Serie A) is an amazing feeling for me,” he said. “A lot of people worldwide consider the Premier League as the best and the strongest league but now I’m in one of the best leagues in the world which is the Italian Serie A.
“I’m working so hard to make sure that I achieve my dream of playing in the Premier League some day but like I said, it’s a process and I just want to keep on this momentum and continue to do well.”
The hard-as-nail striker is playing safe on his transfer as he recently said only the president of his club can decide his future as far as talks about a potential move to another club in the coming season are concerned.
“I don’t know, the president has to decide that,” Osimehn told DAZN, as relayed by the Daily Mail.
“I love the people of Napoli. They have shown me so much love – for me, I don’t mind, the president decides and I will just go with the flow.”
This has no doubt motivated Aurelio De Laurentiis, who is said to be planning for a heart-to-heart parley with his player to get a clear idea of what the centre forward is thinking about his future.
While Napoli are doing everything to keep the goalscoring machine for at least two more years, they are being forced to keep looking over their shoulders as they try to stave off Osimhen’s desperate suitors.
Osimhen’s glorious season
His highly successful season with Napoli is no doubt the reason for the hot chase by clubs to have the Nigerian lead their attack.
In the just concluded season, Osimhen scored 26 goals and provided five assists in 32 appearances to help Napoli win the Scudetto for the first time in 33 years. The 24-year-old also netted five times in the UEFA Champions League and scooped the top scorer award just as he was also named the best striker in the league.
More feathers in his cap
Apart from the top scorer and best striker awards in Serie A, the Super Eagles striker was recently conferred with the National Award of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MON) for his outstanding performance for club and country.
In addition, the world football governing body, FIFA also honoured Osimhen with a special jersey and ball for his exemplary behaviour and performance for Napoli.
Another feather will soon be added to his cap as Osimhen has been nominated for the Best African Player in the international category by organisers of the Ghana Football awards. Therefore, he will be contesting for other African stars like Liverpool and Egypt star, Mohammed Salah and Manchester City and Algeria winger, Riyad Mahrez.