Victor Osimhen’s situation at Napoli seems to get stranger by the week for your average outsider and Italian Serie A fan.
After an effective 30 year wait for the domestic Italian title, Napoli finally achieved their third historic win in the 2022/23 season, and 24 year old Nigerian international striker, Osimhen, played a major role in their success, firing in 26 league goals during the campaign.
Obviously, speculation was high about his future over the summer but he remained with the club and in ten appearances so far in the 2023/24 campaign, he has already found the net on six occasions. But that is not where the headlines end, as the club have been forced recently to state that there are no tensions between themselves and the player, after reports again stated that contract extension talks had stalled and negotiations were at a standstill.
Napoli had to previously approach the media and insist that no offence was intended when their own official social media account actively mocked Osimhen for missing a penalty, and they have stated that they remain extremely hopeful that a new deal will be signed in the imminent future.
Given the strikers’ obvious talent in front of goal, and the number of clubs that are believed to be active suitors of his future services given all the speculation we have seen, it will not just be Napoli fans who find this whole situation bizarre, outsiders in the wider world of football will just not be able to wrap their heads around it.
Especially given his importance to them, and clearly his performances have not slipped, despite what he may well be thinking himself given all these unneeded and unnecessary off pitch dramas.
“Describing relations between Osimhen and Napoli as frosty is entirely out of place.”
Osimhen is currently out injured with a hamstring problem that he sustained whilst on international duty, and his current contract does not expire until 2025, but despite the clubs line on being confident of a new deal – Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis previously, and maybe inadvertently commented, that the player’s ‘mood had changed’ adding ‘life goes on’.
Napoli also tried to qualify those words by saying that reports had deliberately distorted his meaning.
“President De Laurentiis did not say anything negative about Victor. He simply stated that after a series of lengthy contract negotiations which ended with the parties shaking hands and agreeing to continue together, Victor had second thoughts. President De Laurentiis hopes this is merely a pause for reflection. Over the coming weeks, when Victor will not be able to play as he recovers from injury, the president, Osimhen and his agent Roberto Calenda will sit down calmly to discuss the future.”
It is football, things change, as do thoughts when they are not confirmed to a binding contract, but if Napoli’s president thinks the player is merely ‘reflecting’ many fans would offer easy suggestions as to why he feels the need to do that now.