Victor Osimhen urged to consider Arsenal move amid PSG & Chelsea interest


EXCLUSIVE: Napoli’s Osimhen urged to consider Arsenal move amid PSG & Chelsea interest

Victor Osimhen in action for Napoli
Victor Osimhen in action for NapoliAFP
Victor Osimhen (25) should snub interest from Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain and link up with Arsenal instead, according to former Somali national team manager Said Abdi Haibeh (52).

The Nigerian striker has been on the radar of many top European clubs since his crucial role in Napoli’s historic Serie A triumph last season, especially Mauricio Pochettino’s Blues who are in dire need of a world-class number nine.

Despite Osimhen signing a contract extension with the Italian club until 2026, including a new release clause above £100m, there's speculation that the reigning African Player of the Year may not remain in Naples beyond the summer of 2024.

If the choice comes down to Arsenal or Chelsea, the British Somali suggests that he should opt for the Gunners, where he feels he would be a perfect fit in Mikel Arteta’s squad.

“I do not believe that Chelsea will be a good fit for Osimhen, as Chelsea is currently a club in the midst of a transition. As they have signed many young players and hired a new manager, it will take some time for them to improve to the point where they are able to compete in the top three clubs in the English Premier League,” Abdi Haibeh told Flashscore.

“Before Osimhen, Real Madrid had two target players, Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland, who were both on the summer transfer list of Real Madrid, ahead of Osimhen.

“It would seem that Arsenal would be the clear front runner to sign Osimhen now that Real Madrid has secured their target man. 

“The Arsenal team has improved in the past 18 months, but they are still lacking a front man. There is no doubt that Osimhen would be a perfect fit for their starting lineup.”

Osimhen was signed by Napoli in 2020 from Ligue 1 side Lille for a club-record €70m (£60m/$76m) plus €10m (£9m/$11m) in add-ons.

Even at a slight dip in form due to fitness concerns, he boasts 15 goals in 27 matches for Napoli across all competitions in the 2023-24 campaign.

For the Parthenopeans, they have been far from impressive as they crashed out of the Champions League after a 4-2 aggregate defeat to Barcelona in the round of 16. They failed to progress to Coppa Italia’s quarter-final following a 4-0 loss to Frosinone.

Judging by their position in Serie A, Abdi Haibeh feels it might be a near impossible task for Francesco Calzona’s men to secure a place in Europe next season.

He added: “As Napoli currently sit in eighth place on the table with six games left in the season, it is going to be difficult to qualify for Europe as the teams in front of them on the table are all putting their full effort forward as well.

Victor Osimhen hasn't been the same goal threat as last season
Victor Osimhen hasn't been the same goal threat as last seasonOpta by StatsPerform, Reuters

“Osimhen was involved in 20 matches and scored 13 goals. This is still an impressive score considering the number of matches he participated in.”

Osimhen's remarkable performance for Napoli last season, with 31 goals in 39 matches, earned him the prestigious African Player of the Year award, ahead of Egypt's Mohamed Salah and Morocco's Achraf Hakimi.

In doing so, he became the first Nigerian to win the accolade since Arsenal legend Nwankwo Kanu in 1999. 

Haibeh does not dismiss the possibility of the former Lille star achieving back-to-back victories.

“He still has time to hit a good form before the crown is given at the end of the year, but lists of other brilliant African footballers are also aiming to win the crown at the end of the year.”

Following their second-place finish at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, Nigeria is determined to secure qualification for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, having missed out on the 2022 edition held in Qatar.

In June, the Super Eagles kick off their campaign by hosting South Africa in their opening match, followed by a clash against Benin at the Stade de l'Amitie in Cotonou.

While Osimhen didn't quite meet expectations in terms of goal-scoring during the matches in Cote d’Ivoire, his overall contribution is expected to count in in Nigeria's quest to qualify for the global football showpiece.

Haibeh added: “In addition to Osimhen being a natural goalscorer, his contribution will be crucial for Nigeria's qualification for the World Cup 2026.” 

Shina Oludare
Shina OludareFlashscore News


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