The Super Eagles striker sealed a five-year deal with the Italian side last Friday to end all speculations concerning his future
In a transfer that dragged on for months, Napoli were able to get their man finally, paying a club record fee of 80m euros for Victor Osimhen.
Osimhen joins the Gli Azzuri on a five-year deal, and he is set to earn 4.5m euros annually according to Napoli owner, Aurelio De Laurentis.
The fee paid also makes Osimhen the most expensive African player ever-eclipsing the amount Arsenal paid for Nicolas Pepe.
It’s a reward for his performances at Lille where he scored 18 goals in 38 games for the French Ligue 1 side last season.
However, despite his exploits in Ligue 1 last season, the Nigerian international will be under enormous pressure in the Italian Serie A due to the fee paid for his services. It comes at a time when most clubs are struggling financially due to the impact of the coronavirus.
Also, it’s important to note that the way football is viewed in Italy is different. Fans demand a lot from their players, especially for a player like Osimhen who came in for a large fee.
But if there’s any player that’s not fazed by the pressure, it is Osimhen. The 21-year-old lives and breathe football.
This is a guy whose career was once threatened by malaria but came back stronger. After recovering from malaria, he was rejected by some Belgian clubs before Royal Charleroi offered him a chance.
He rewarded the club with 20 goals in 36 games in all competition. His performance made Lille pay 12m euros for his services.
But despite his record in Belgium, there were still doubts about his ability to perform in Europe’s top five leagues having struggled at Wolfsburg.
However, on his debut and only season in France, Osimhen settled in quickly, scoring twice in on his Ligue 1 debut for Lille.
With his improved confidence, Oshimen should have no problem dealing with the pressure in Naples, although a Lille-like start will be a big help. There’ve also been question marks on how he would fit into Napoli’s team, but that should not be a problem.
According to reports, Osimhen’s arrival means Arkadiusz Milik will leave the club this summer. Milik is the only traditional striker at Napoli, and Osimhen is expected to slot into his role.
Napoli play the orthodox 4-3-3 and Osimhen is expected to play as the number nine with two of Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens and Mateo Politano occupying the wide roles.
Comparing his stats with Milik, the former Golden Eaglets star won’t have a problem slotting into Genaro Gattuso’s team.
The Pole played 26 times in the Italian topflight with 19 coming as starts. In those games, he scored 11 times which is 0.4 goals per game.
In contrast, Osimhen played 27 times for Lille in Ligue 1 last season, scoring 13 times- an average of 0.5 goals per game.
However, while Osimhen’s goal per game is better than Milik, the Pole has a better chance conversion rate. While Osimhen missed 14 big chances last season, Milik missed just eight- although the Ligue 1 did not run its full course as it was ended prematurely due to the coronavirus.
Nonetheless, the Nigerian will need to be more clinical in front of goal. The 21-year-old will get more chances at Napoli.
Genaro Gattuso’s side had an average possession of 57% in the Italian topflight compared to Lille’s 51.7% in the French top division.
Napoli’s (72) big chances almost two times more than Lille’s (37) big chances created. The Italian side also had more shots per game (18.1) than Lille (12.5) in their respective leagues last season.
Judging from the stat, it means Osimhen will get more goal-scoring opportunities, but his conversion rate will also need to improve.
But despite his average conversion rate, Osimhen will offer more to Napoli than Milik. The 21-year-old presses hard off the ball, and his willingness to run into channels means he’ll be a delight to his teammates.
A lot has been said about Napoli’s tactics, but the main precept of their game is based on Maurizio Sarri’s style. Their build-up play is arguably the best in Italy, while the way they moved the ball quickly is a delight to watch, and that should suit Osimhen perfectly.
Expectations are high as Osimhen enter into a highly-demanding territory, but the Super Eagles golden boy should have no problem meeting and surpassing the demands.