The president of SSC Napoli, Aurelio De Laurentis, made a series of statements to some journalists who were outside the league headquarters where the top Serie A managers had gathered for a meeting.
Among the aforementioned declarations, the one that has caused the most outcry is the one relating to the possible farewell of the Nigerian striker despite the fact he recently renewed his contract, setting its expiration date at 30 June 2026, with the inclusion of a release clause.
1. His experience with Napoli
Victor Osimhen's experience in Naples can be considered absolutely positive.
He arrived at Napoli in the 2020 summer transfer market with an important responsibility on his shoulders -- his purchase from LOSC Lille is the most expensive ever in the club's history. Furthermore, he continually was the subject of comparison with his predecessors, i.e. strikers of consolidated international caliber such as Edinson Cavani and Gonzalo Higuain.
His first season was marred by an injury suffered with the Nigerian national team and then testing positive for Covid-19, which made him unavailable for over two months. He ended the year with 10 goals in 30 games overall.
The 2021-2022 season was better than the previous one both on a personal and team level. He ended the season by scoring 18 goals in 32 games played in the league and cups, while at team level he helped Napoli reach the UEFA Champions League by finishing third in Serie A, behind FC Internazionale and Scudetto-winning AC Milan.
A very particular attribute about Osimhen and one he has become synonymous with is the protective mask he now wears. In the championship match against Inter, following a very violent aerial collision with opposing defender Milan Skriniar, he suffered multiple bone fractures in the left area of his face, between the cheekbone and the eye area. This forced him to undergo surgery to repair the aforementioned fractures.
The 2022-2023 season was the definitive turning point. He was decisive in helping Napoli win the Italian championship, bringing the Scudetto back to Naples after more than thirty years, that is, from the golden age of the 80s and 90s with the shining star of Diego Armando Maradona.
He contributed significantly in big matches, such as the away match against AS Roma at the Olympic Stadium and then in the memorable home victory against Juventus with a clear result of 5-1.
Furthermore, in the Champions League, Napoli won their group despite having tough opponents such as Liverpool , Ajax and Rangers.
Then, in the final stages of the competition, he scored in both matches against Eintracht Frankfurt, in particular with a precious brace in the return match.
His absence turned out to be very serious in the quarter-final first leg against AC Milan where the Rossoneri managed to prevail by winning the match at San Siro 1-0. It was the only match lost by Napoli in their entire European campaign.
While his presence in the return match was useful at least to score the equalizing goal in the final minutes of the match, Milan went through.
He ended the season scoring 31 goals in total (26 in Serie A and five in the Champions League), also winning the Serie A top scorer and named the best striker in the championship.
In recognition of his great year, he was included in the list of 30 candidates for the Ballon d'Or, the highest individual football award, finishing in eighth place.
In the current season, Osimhen continues to be the main offensive point of reference for the Azzurri , maintaining a goal average approximately in line with that of the previous season (so far out of 18 games played he has scored eight goals).
During the months of January and February he was involved with his national team in the Africa Cup of Nations in an attempt to bring the continental trophy back to Nigeria after more than ten years since the last one.
Among other things, his absence proved to be very damaging for Napoli who had to play the final of the Supercoppa Italia against Inter, losing only after being outnumbered and with a goal immediately in the final minutes of the match, without their best player.
2. Possible destinations
There are no certainties regarding Victor Osimhen's future. It is really difficult to think we can say something with high certainty. However, one could rule out staying in Italy, just as one could rule out those big European clubs that already count on great first strikers as long as they remain in the squad, such as Manchester City (with Erling Haaland), Barcelona (with Robert Lewandowski ) and FC Bayern Munch (with Harry Kane).
Popular destinations could be Premier League clubs, in particular teams looking for attackers who can guarantee offensive weight and regularity of scoring.
One could venture the names of Arsenal, Chelsea (Osimhen has declared Didier Drogba, the Ivorian striker, his role model) and Manchester United .
Other options that should not be ignored are Saudi Arabia or Paris Saint-Germain , who acquired two strikers in the last summer transfer market in Randal Kolo Muani and Goncalo Ramos.
However, Osimhen will end the year with the Napoli shirt trying to help his team reach one of the places for qualifying for next year's European cups. After which his legacy will become an object of comparison and certain pressure for his successor, just as it happened to him upon his arrival in Naples.