The first report of Victor Osimhen’s link to Napoli by a Nigerian website was contentious among several sports journalists.
OwnGoalNigeria’s report of the move was audacious, reporting that Osimhen had already agreed on a deal with Napoli for a five-year-deal. The Lille striker was furious with the report, describing it as ‘fake and sickening’ in a chat with German-based Nigerian journalist Oma Akatugba.
“A lot of fake news about me agreeing a deal with Napoli is sickening for real. I’m surprised at the journalists that say they are professionals. I find it amazing. Please disregard any fake news, when it’s time for my transfer, you’ll hear from me directly,” Osimhen said.
There was no further development on the story as Osimhen had to come back to Nigeria after the death of his dad.
Immediately after the funeral, the 21-year-old travelled back to France from where he visited Naples to meet with Napoli. While the news of his visit to Naples was a sort of vindication for OwnGoalNigeria, people close to Osimhen remained adamant that the striker wasn't keen on joining Napoli.
At at time, people close to Osimhen maintained that the striker had hesitation over the move due to the reports of racism in Italian football. There were also reports that he was holding out for a move to the Premier League.
The disagreement and tussle to be seen as the most reliable source of information for Osimhen’s move to Napoli continue even after the deal has been confirmed.
After dragged out negotiations, Osimhen was on Friday, July 31, 2020 confirmed as a Napoli player which brings to an end the speculations and dramas that surrounded the transfer.
Despite Osimhen’s denial of OwnGoalNigeria’s initial story, Lille and Napoli had been in negotiation over the player since March.
The player, however, was not keen on the move because he was concerned over the racism in Italy. Despite his skepticism, the 21-year-old still travelled to Naples to meet with Napoli’s president Aurelio De Laurentiis and coach Gennaro Gattuso.
He seemed to be convinced about the move after that meeting but a fallout with his agent Jean-Gérard Benoît Czajka for allegedly prioritising his interest and not that of the player during the negotiations.
Czajka has however denied that allegation calling it ‘nonsense’ in a recent interview.
On the recommendation of Lille president Gérard Lopez, Osimhen took on William D’Avila who is also the agent of Nigerian player Emmanuel Dennis.
The change in management delayed the Napoli move but soon after, D’Avila took over negotiations and the move was back on.
Osimhen also spoke to Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly who over his racism fears but the Senegal international reassured him.
Napoli boss Gattuso was also said to be desperate to sign Osimhen that he offered to take a pay cut so the move could happen.
While all these were going on, Manchester United and Liverpool tried to hijack Osimhen but the Nigerian striker was not convinced after speaking with both Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Jurgen Klopp.
So, Napoli, it was for Osimhen and the move was finally confirmed on Friday, July 31.
Another subject of debate about the deal was how much it cost Napoli. Reports from Italy had it at €50m-plus add-ons but French publications like L’Équipe and Get French Football News reported the sign-on fee to be worth €81.3m including bonuses-with the base fee at €71.2m plus €10.1m in guaranteed bonuses.
The reports from France looked to be more reliable which makes Osimhen the most expensive African player in history.
Osimhen also gets a salary boost with this move to Napoli. While he earned €80k a month at Lille, the striker is set to receive €4m to €4.5m annually which approximately gets him €93, 750 per week.