Christian Vieri hails Victor Osimhen for early-season goalscoring form

Christian Vieri believes Victor Osimhen has found his groove in the Serie A after underachieving during his first season at Napoli.

Victor Osimhen (Twitter/Victor Osimhen)

Former Italy international Christian Vieri has weighed in on the massive improvement seen in Victor Osimhen’s performances for Napoli this season. Speaking to Bobo TV, Vieri highlighted the Nigeria international’s team play, his willingness to create chances for others, and his recent purple patch in front of goal.

The 48-year-old former striker was himself a lethal finisher in his heyday, taking in hugely successful spells with several Serie A clubs in the 90s and early 2000s. Vieri proved his mettle in front of goal during a goal-laden six-year spell with Inter Milan (1999 - 2005), scoring 123 goals and providing 14 assists in just 190 games for the Nerazzurri.

The 2003 Serie A top scorer suggested that Osimhen’s ability was never in doubt, instead, he only needed time to deliver on the huge potential that saw Napoli splash a club record €70m on his transfer from Lille in the summer of 2020.

Contrary to expectation, Osimhen did not hit the ground running in his first season in Italy. The former Lille hotshot only managed a modest 10 goals in 30 appearances under the tutelage of former manager, Gennaro Gattuso.

His 2020/21 season was punctuated by injures and a positive Covid-19 test that meant he failed to get a decent run of appearances in the team for much of the campaign. However, during the run-in, the 22-year-old showed a glimpse of his potential, scoring eight goals and providing two assists in 14 matches between March and May.

Vieri believes that Osimhen was judged hastily for a relatively underwhelming first season. In Bobo's view, all that was needed was patience, which has now paid off with the Nigerian's increased goal statistics and team involvement for the 2021/22 season.

“After six games they said ‘Osimhen is poor’, I wonder how you can say something like that," Vieri said.

"Serie A is not like 20 years ago, but tactically it is still very difficult and a little patience was needed. Now Osimhen scores, plays for the team, attacks the depth, drops deeper and creates spaces.”

So far, Osimhen has scored nine goals in just 12 matches in the current season, and is well on the way to beating his tally for the whole of last season. He has also provided two assists this season, just one short of the three he laid on in the entirety of the 2020/21 season.

His renewed menace in front of goal has powered an undefeated Napoli side to the top of the Serie A table. Luciano Spalletti's side have won 10 of their 11 league matches so far, same as early title rivals AC Milan, although Napoli’s goal differential of +20 gives them the edge over the Rossoneri.

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