Back in Naples after the CAN, Victor Osimhen does not hide his desires elsewhere

Unhappy finalist of CAN 2024 with Nigeria, Victor Osimhen returned to his club Naples and even scored on Wednesday in the Champions League. But the player no longer seems to flourish within this formation. His name is circulating around Real, PSG and across the Channel.

Published on: 02/22/2024 – 1:56 p.m. Modified on: 02/22/2024 – 2:02 p.m.

5 mn

How to bounce back after a failure in life? Victor Osimhen dreamed of offering Nigeria its fourth CAN, working hard throughout the competition to achieve his goal. The Super Eagles finally crashed just before reaching seventh heaven, defeated by Ivory Coast in the final.

Since the CAN 2024 final, Victor Osimhen has been inconsolable. And it’s not the return to Naples that will rejoice him. Despite being the reigning Serie A champion, nothing is going well with the volcano. Maradona’s former club is left behind in the league (9th, 27 points behind leader Inter) and eliminated from the Italian Cup. He has just changed coaches for the third time this year. All that remains is the Champions League to save his season.

Read alsoCAN 2024: Victor Osimhen, Nigeria’s “X factor”

The round of 16 first leg against FC Barcelona marked, Wednesday February 21, the great return of the African player of the year 2023 in the Azurro jersey, almost two months after his last appearance. The “masked striker” – he plays with protection on his face – was padlocked for a long time by the Catalan defenders and appeared out of breath.

However, even when exhausted, Osimhen remains Osimhen. While Naples was trailing 1 to O and was going to give up its place, the Super Eagle set the record straight by equalizing, getting rid of Inigo Martinez on a pass from André-Frank Zambo Anguissa for a 100% African Cup goal.

A goal that does not hide the discomfort

This return crowned with a goal against a prestigious opponent will undoubtedly struggle to make us forget the uneasiness which agitates Victor Osimhen. The Super Eagles star returned from the CAN dragging his feet. He was expected on February 15 in the morning at the foot of the volcano, but only arrived in the early evening, after missing a connection. An arrival more than 24 hours after those of his two teammates also playing in Serie A, Ademola Lookman (Atalanta Bergamo) Samuel Chukwueze (AC Milan).

Upon leaving the airport, those around him became annoyed with a journalist present while the player kept his head down, hidden by his hood, visibly still defeated. The next day, he arrived late at the training center. He warmed up in his corner then spoke with the coach and management, only to refuse to play last weekend against Genoa.

“According to him and the doctors, he was in poor form and a few contractures. I think there was no reason to take risks, play him for twenty minutes and lose him for several months,” diplomatically declared his new coach Walter Mazzarri.

It was from the stands that he encouraged his partners during their difficult draw (2-2).

Deteriorated relations with Naples

The euphoria of last summer is long gone. Top scorer in Serie A last season (26 goals), the Nigerian international allowed his team to win the champion title, 33 years after the last coronation.

Several episodes have marred Osimhen’s relationship with his club. The masked striker only played 13 of 24 league matches, the fault of a long absence due to injury and then the African Cup of Nations.

There was especially the controversy around the club’s TikTok account. A Napoli publication, deleted a little too late, showed the missed penalty attempt by “Osi” against Bologna (0-0) during the 5th day of the Italian Championship, commented by a high-pitched voice saying “Give- Penalty me please.”

In the process, the person concerned removed from his social networks almost all the photos showing him with the Napoli jersey. “What happened on the official Naples TikTok account is not acceptable,” said the player’s agent, Roberto Calenda, on X. “We reserve the right to take legal action and any useful initiative to protect Victor.”

To calm things down, Napoli immediately published a press release affirming “that they had never wanted to offend or make fun of Victor Osimhen”, without however presenting him with a formal apology.

Obviously something broke. On January 23, in the middle of CAN, he announced the color: “I have already decided what the next step will be at the end of the season. I have my plan, I know what I want to do.” Aurelio De Laurentiis, the president of Naples, did not seek to maintain the suspense by reacting the next day: “We knew it since last summer, otherwise, the negotiations for its extension (until June 2026) would not wouldn’t have been so long. We already knew he would go to Real, PSG or the Premier League.”

PSG, Chelsea or another club?

In a transfer window already agitated by the departure of Kylian Mbappé from PSG, Victor Osimhen, who is the same age as the Bondy prodigy within a month, has all the makings of the ideal recruit: a prolific scorer, he knows Ligue 1 and the current sports director of PSG, Luis Campos, who brought him to Lille during the 2019-2020 season. But “we are not chasing this or that player”, we assure the management of PSG.

Read alsoCAN 2024: Didier Drogba, an intact aura in Ivory Coast and in his native district

England would be the Nigerian’s preferred track. Victor Osimhen would dream of imitating his lifelong idol, Didier Drogba, by signing for Chelsea. Arsenal would also be in the running to position themselves.

Until then, Victor Osimhen risks dragging out his sentence.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *