At just 21 years old, Victor Osimhen had already experienced a lot in his career. His story is as turbulent as it is rapid. A portrait.
70 million euros plus another possible ten million euros as bonuses – that is how much the SSC Naples pays, according to Sky Italia Transfer expert Gianluca Di Marzio for signing Victor Osimhen to Lille OSC. With this, the Neapolitans make the Nigerian attacker their record transfer.
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The 21-year-old hoped for this development when he moved to Europe over three years ago. But after a difficult time in Germany, his career is only really picking up late.
Osimhen and VfL Wolfsburg? No love relationship
VfL Wolfsburg struck in January 2017 and signed Osimhen for 3.5 million euros. This contract is “the greatest achievement of my life,” said Osimhen in one at the time BeIN Sports-Interview. The youngster, who had just turned 18 at the time, moved from Nigeria to the Lower Saxony from the Ultimate Strikers Academy, starting his first stop abroad – and on another continent.
Perhaps this was also a reason why Oshimen was never really happy at VfL. Perhaps it was also the great expectations and numerous advance laurels with which the Nigerian was brought, but in the end he failed.
High expectations of Osimhen
In 2015, Osimhen attracted great international attention for the first time when he was crowned top scorer with Nigeria U17 world champions and ten goals. The awards continued in the same year. Osimhen was named Africas best youth player. The Wolfsburg anticipation of the attacker was justifiably high, but should not be fulfilled.
Osimhen was injured in Wolfsburg in January 2017. A meniscus tear postponed his comeback for Lower Saxony until May of the same year. But in the following season, the youngster could not really gain a foothold either. His vita shows only 16 games for the wolves across all competitions. You won’t find a hit or assist in the books. No more “toothless wolf” was possible at that time.
Breakthrough in Belgium at Charleroi
This was followed by a loan to Belgium for the RSC Charleroi, where the attacker from Lagos coped much better. He scored directly in his first game from the start, after which Osimhen – with a few exceptions – was an integral part of the starting XI. He repaid this trust with a terrific goal rate. In 36 games he scored 20 times and also hit four more goals.
No wonder that after just a year, the Belgians were lined up with numerous clubs to poach the attacker. AC Milan, among others, is said to have shown interest, but Osimhen “absolutely wanted to go to Lille,” said Mehdi Bayat, managing director of RSC Charleroi.
Osimhen trumps in Lille
At this point, Osimhen already sensed that a move to France to Lille OSC, where Nicolas Pepe had just announced the record departure, could be his big springboard into top European football – and that’s exactly what happened.
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Osimhen scored twice on his debut in Ligue 1 and secured Lille the opening three in a 2-1 win over FC Nantes. Another 11 league goals and five assists followed. He also caught the eye in the Champions League. In one of Lille’s weak group phases with only one point, Osimhen was still among the best, scoring two goals and thus half of all Lille goals in the premier class.
Naples wants to go back to the CL with Osimhen
The attacker has to do without the biggest European stage at his new club SSC Napoli. The team of coach Gennaro Gattuso is no longer in seventh place in Serie A, but thanks to the cup victory next season, they are playing in the Europa League.
Record man Osimhen should now ensure that the CL anthem will sound again in the Stadio San Paolo in the future.
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