Sports

Osimhen to fight for shirts with Mertens, three others

…as Napoli prepares soft-landing in case striker fails
•Deal worth €60m, not €81m

Super Eagles striker Victor Osimhen will not walk straight into the starting line up of Napoli despite his impending record move to the club, the coach Gennaro Gattuso, has reportedly told the Nigerian. Osimhen’s transfer is expected to be announced by Napoli today (Friday) after a protracted negotiation but our correspondents learnt that the Naples-based side had prepared a soft-landing already to mitigate their losses should the striker eventually fail to live up to expectation. Already the striker has been told he has to justify his continued selection as he is expected to fight for starting spots with veteran Dries Mertens, Hirving ‘Chucky’ Lozano and newly acquired SPAL striker Andrea Petagna.

Napoli are worried about how their recordsigning Lozano has fared since he joined the side last summer as the Mexican failed to deliver which prompted Gattuso drop him to the bench. Osimhen started his professional career at the age of 19 with Wolfsburg in the German Bundesliga, but featured predominantly as a substitute.

The following season, Wolfsburg sent Osimhen to Charleroi on a one-year loan with an obligation to buy. The young Nigerian scored 12 goals in 25 appearances in his lone season in the Belgian Jupiler League. In summer 2019, Charleroi sold Osimhen to French outfit Lille. There he netted 18 times in 38 appearances across all competitions. “Many Napoli fans view this acquisition as a risky investment and feared he could go in the way of Lozano who was bought from PSV for 40m,” a source at the club said.

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