Wednesday, April 24News That Matters

Napoli give Chelsea major hope of signing Victor Osimhen

Aurelio De Laurentiis, the president of Napoli, acknowledges the club’s inability to halt Victor Osimhen’s departure amidst fervent interest from the Premier League.

Osimhen’s pivotal role in ending Napoli’s 33-year wait for the Scudetto, marked by an impressive tally of 26 goals in 32 games last season, solidifies his status as one of Europe’s most accomplished strikers.

Nevertheless, Napoli anticipates a competitive bidding scenario for Osimhen during the upcoming transfer window. Clubs such as Chelsea, Arsenal, and Real Madrid have been mentioned as potential suitors, with Osimhen indicating he has already made a decision regarding his future.

Osimhen’s departure won’t come without a hefty price tag. The highly sought-after Nigerian international reportedly possesses a staggering release clause ranging between €120 million (£102.6 million) and €130 million (£111.2 million) in his Napoli contract.

Despite their fervent desire to retain Osimhen following their triumphant title campaign, Napoli seems resigned to losing their prized asset at the season’s end should a suitable offer materialize for the forward.

‘Victor is another good player that Napoli have. We had [Edinson] Cavani, [Gonzalo] Higuain, [Ezequiel] Lavezzi and we had [Dries] Mertens, we had a lot of people who were fantastic,’ Napoli president De Laurentiis told Sky Sports.

‘Osimhen is a very great player – but you know: Napoli is a fantastic place. There are certain players who fell in love with Napoli and stayed, like [Marek] Hamsik for 11 years. Or like others for eight years.

‘And there are others who are attracted by Real Madrid, by PSG, by Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea. So you cannot stop them, especially when they have a fixed amount of money where they can be bought.

‘He has a release clause. It’s a very big amount of money.’

Asked whether Osimhen will stay at Napoli beyond the end of the campaign, he replied: ‘Who knows who will leave? We will see.

‘The money is the last problem for Napoli. We always made very good acquisitions as we did in the past. We will do so in the future.

‘The problem is just sentimental problems. When you see a player leave, it’s like a son. ‘You are also happy if this son has a fantastic success everywhere else.’

Speaking at the Web Summit Qatar this week, John Obi Mikel spoke about Osimhen completing a move to Stamford Bridge, claiming he ‘loved’ Chelsea.

‘I’m still Osimhen’s agent, trying to get him to Chelsea! I’ve got 20 per cent of that deal, so I hope it works out!’ the ex-Chelsea midfielder joked.

Asked whether the move was a ‘genuine possibility’ for Chelsea, Mikel said: ‘I think there is genuine interest between both [parties]. I think he loves the club, he wants to come to the club.

‘Obviously, he wants to follow my footsteps as a Nigerian player who has played for Chelsea – Victor Moses, Celestine Babayaro, not a lot of us.

‘London as well, fantastic city, instead of going to Liverpool or places like that you want to live in London. ‘But he also has a lot of interest. Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United.

‘I’m still pushing, sending him messages, trying to make sure he doesn’t expect to much, narrow you’re mind on one club – the Blues.

‘I am pushing him, I hope he comes to the club.

‘I think one thing we lack, I think everyone who watch the [Carabao Cup] final on Sunday will see that one thing we are lacking is scoring goals. We need that striker who will score goals.’

‘And that’s what Victor will give you. He’s not the most skilful guy, but goals are definitely guaranteed.

‘If he could get us 20 plus a season, 25, who knows, that’s what Erling Haaland does, that’s why he’s one of the best, he’s not really there for link-ups and all that, get the ball in the box and he will finish. That’s something Victor will definitely give us.

‘Let’s hope it works out and he comes to Chelsea and becomes a legend.’

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