Super Eagles striker Victor Osimhen finally joins Napoli in a reported £74m deal that would make him the most-expensive African footballer in history.

Osimhen was announced as a Napoli player on Friday, July 31 after long-drawn-out negotiations between the player, the Serie A club and Lille.

The 21-year-old has signed a five-year contract with the Serie A sides after his impressive season in France with Lille.

"Welcome, Victor!” Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis tweeted before the club confirmed the signing via their Twitter account.

Lille, where the Nigeria international played for just a year also confirmed the move. “We'd like to extend our heartfelt thanks to @victorosimhen9 and wish this Super Eagle Flag of Nigeria the very best of #LOSC luck in his new adventure with @en_sscnapoli," the Ligue 1 club said on Twitter.

After the announcement, Osimhen took to Twitter to respond. “Can’t wait to put on this iconic jersey, thank you for the warm welcome,” he said.

Remarkable rise

The move continues the remarkable rise of Osimhen who started his football career with Ultimate Strikers Academy in Lagos before he broke into Nigeria’s U17 where he represented them at the 2015 FIFA World Cup in Chile.

Victor Osimhen got his break at the 2015 FIFA World Cup where he scored 10 goals to lead Nigeria to the title
Victor Osimhen got his break at the 2015 FIFA World Cup where he scored 10 goals to lead Nigeria to the title

It was at that tournament that Osimhen first snagged the limelight with 10 goals to finish as highest goalscorer as Nigeria won the title.

With offers from the likes of Arsenal and other big European sides, Osimhen chose Wolfsburg where he struggled with injuries and had difficulties adapting.

He joined Belgium side Charleroi on loan and reignited his career with 20 goals in 36 appearances to finish as the Club’s Player of the Season in the 2018/2019 football year.

In the summer of 2019, Charleroi signed him permanently and quickly cashed in on him with €12m plus €3m from Lille.

Victor Osimhen reignited his career at Belgium club Charleroi where he scored 20 goals in the 2018/2019 season
Victor Osimhen reignited his career at Belgium club Charleroi where he scored 20 goals in the 2018/2019 season

At Lille, Oismhen continued to shine and scored 18 goals in 38 appearances to also win the Club’s Player of the Year.

He was included in Ligue 1’s Team of the Season and won the 2020 Prix Marc-Vivien Foé which is the award for the best African player in Ligue 1.

His performances in the 2019/2020 season got the attention of big clubs around Europe and it was Napoli who got the man.

Protracted talks

Osimhen scored 18 goals in 38 games for Lille int he 2019/2020 season
Osimhen scored 18 goals in 38 games for Lille int he 2019/2020 season
AFP

The Serie A club began talks with Lille in March although Osimhen was said not to be keen on the move because he was concerned over racism in Italy.

While the negotiations dragged on, the Nigerian striker sacked his longtime agent Jean-Gérard Benoit Czajka for allegedly prioritising his interest and not that of the player while negotiating with Napoli.

For the big-money move to Napoli, there have been conflicting reports about how much the player cost the Italian club.

While reports from Italy have the figure as €50 million-plus add-ons, reports from French says the deal is worth £74m.

With that figure, Osimhen is the most expensive African player in football history and French Football, a reliable source says it’s true.

Victor Osimhen has become the most expensive African player of all time in moving to Napoli, contrary to Italian sources about the nature of the fee,” French Football said on Twitter.

Osimhen’s move to Napoli delighted Nigerians who have taken to Twitter to react. Since the announcement was made, Oismhen has been the number one trending topic on Twitter Nigeria.