September 25, 2021

Osimhen can be Napoli’s 30-goal striker – De Laurentiis

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The Nigeria forward was announced as a Partenopei player on Friday, having signed a five-year contract

Victor Osimhen can be a ’30-goal striker’ for Napoli after signing from LOSC Lille, according to club president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

The 21-year old Nigeria international officially became a Partenopei player on Friday, signing a five-year deal having joined from LOSC Lille in a deal reported to be worth an initial €50 million, potentially rising to €80 million.

Negotiations have been ongoing between both clubs for more than a month with the player growing frustrated at some points, but De Laurentiis is clearly happy that everything has been sorted out.

“It is certainly a costly investment, but he is a strong striker who our sports director [Cristiano] Giuntoli advocated,” De Laurentiis told Corriere del Mezzogiorno. “He is a 30-goal striker.

“I met him and he made an excellent impression on me, I hope he quickly settles in our championship.”

Osimhen scored 18 competitive goals in 38 outings in his sole season with Lille which won him the club’s Player of the Season and the best African player in Ligue 1 award.

All these were strong enough reasons to convince the Napoli hierarchy to bring him to the San Paolo. He changed agents in the course of negotiations, and his current representative William D’Avila admitted the trio of De Laurentiis, manager Gennaro Gattuso and sporting director Giuntoli were key actors in convincing Osimhen to sign.

“Each of them have been very important. Each of them have talked to Victor and each of them are a part of the reason why he chose Napoli, with all of them he spoke individually,” D’Avila told Naples-based Radio Kiss Kiss.

“De Laurentiis told him what is expected of him and he immediately put him at ease with regards to the project. Giuntoli was the key man, he worked hard, non-stop phone calls to convince the player.

“He also had single talks with Gattuso, with whom he immediately developed a great feeling. Special mention also for Maurizio Micheli, one of Giuntoli’s collaborators.”

Osimhen’s arrival puts a doubt on Arkadiusz Milik’s future, with De Laurentiis confirming the Polish striker is on the market and is reportedly attracting the interest of reigning champions Juventus.

“Our centre forward [Milik] is on the market, he will go away to the best bidder,” the Napoli president said. “Juve? If they are interested, they will have to pay without discounts If he were to stay he might not be part of Gattuso’s choices.”

Osimhen will meanwhile have fight for a place in the Napoli starting XI alongside the club’s all-time top scorer Dries Mertens. Andrea D’Amico, an associate of D’Avila does not think it will be a problem having both players involved in the game, stressing that it will create a healthy competition.

“It is clear that when you join an important team, there is always competition,” D’Amico told Radio Marte.

“Napoli have had many champions who have been able to coexist to create healthy internal competition. When you compete on many fronts, you need more roses.”