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Likeliest Victor Osimhen transfer outcome revealed as Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea hit with Napoli bombshell
Napoli striker Victor Osimhen
Napoli striker Victor Osimhen

TEAMtalk has exclusively learned where Victor Osimhen is likely to be playing his football next season amid confirmed interest from Premier League giants Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea.

The striker has, arguably, become one of the most highly-rated in Europe, particularly after scoring 31 goals and bagging five assists for the Serie A side in the 2022/23 campaign – which saw them lift the Scudetto for the first time since 1990.

While he was not as prolific this season, partly due to a hamstring issue and playing for Nigeria during the Africa Cup of Nations, he still registered 17 goals and turned provider on four occasions in 32 appearances.

Teams across the world coveted his services, as he finished in eighth place at the 2023 Ballon d’Or ceremony – becoming the first Nigerian to make the top 10 for the prized accolade.

Napoli sought to protect their asset and did so by tying him down to a new deal in December 2023. However, Osimhen is now trapped in a golden cage called the release clause.

Napoli’s restrictive transfer stance

When he signed a new contract with Napoli until 2026, it seemed that the €130 million (£109.7m) clause would be his green light to say goodbye to the Italian club this summer and move permanently to the Premier League, as he had dreamed of since he was a child.

In January, Osimhen said: “The rumour is going around about me linked with the Premier League. Of course, when you’re one of the hottest strikers in the world you expect this type of thing, it’s one of the biggest and best leagues in the world.

“For me, I’m with Napoli, signed a new contract and enjoying my time there with the team, at the end of the season I’ve already made up my mind, I already know what I want to do in my career.

“Since I’ve started, I’ve been the one making my own decisions on everything and it’s working out well for me. I already know the next step I want to take so for now I just want to finish the season strong.”

However, at this moment, there is no club willing – at least in Europe – to pay that amount for the Nigerian international striker.

Moreover, Napoli are not open to negotiating a lower sum and won’t entertain the idea of including makeweights to lower the transfer’s sky high cost.

In the Premier League, there are at least three clubs that have shown interest in him. One of which is Chelsea, who contacted his entourage months ago.

However, the Blues have decided to divert their attention to Crystal Palace star Michael Olise and have now allocated a budget of €35-45m (£29.5m-38m) for a striker – a long way short of the fee requested by Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis, who is not willing to accept a player-plus-cash offer.

Three Premier League sides interested

That’s why Chelsea have decided to turn to other targets for new attackers, such as Aston Villa’s Jhon Duran and Atletico Madrid’s Samu Omorodion.

The second Premier League side to register an interest in Osimhen is Arsenal. The Gunners are looking for a striker for next season and also enquired about the 25-year-old.

They are concretely interested in the ex-Lille forward, but Mikel Arteta’s men have not pursued the matter further and, to date, no further contact with Napoli is planned.

Finally, Manchester United have been keeping tabs on Osimhen as they try to bolster their attack alongside Rasmus Hojlund.

However, Napoli’s asking price is too high for the Red Devils, who are now targeting Bologna front man Joshua Zirkzee.

While Osimhen harbours desires to play in the Premier League at any cost, at present, a transfer to the English top-flight seems unlikely.

Clubs in Europe and Saudi baulk at fee

But even outside of England the situation is similar. Paris Saint-Germain have not made any concrete talks with Osimhen’s entourage so far, with manager Luis Enrique now prioritising a new winger; plus, he wants to improve current striking options Randal Kolo Muani and Goncalo Ramos.

In Serie A, no club can pay Osimhen’s release clause. In the Saudi Pro League, however, Chelsea outcast Romelu Lukaku and Osimhen are top of their target list.

The striker’s representatives have been contacted and clubs there would like to proceed with talks, but, even his release clause is seen as too high for Saudi sides. While more developments are expected soon, Napoli’s lack of flexibility is proving to be a big problem.

In summary, to date, no club in the Premier League, in Europe and also in Saudi is willing to pay €130m (£109.7m) for Osimhen. Therefore, his chances of staying at Napoli are high.

While things can change quickly, without a drop in the Italian side’s asking price, an exit for Osimhen will be difficult.

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