Instead of fixating on Liverpool’s trip to the Bernabeu to face Real Madrid on Wednesday night, some Manchester United supporters might choose to carry out a scouting mission instead.
At the same time as Jurgen Klopp’s side will be attempting to produce one of the greatest Champions League comebacks of all time, Napoli will be hoping to reach the quarter-finals of the competition for the very first time in their history. Leading 2-0 from the first leg of their last-16 showdown with Eintracht Frankfurt, they are in a commanding position to complete the job.
The Serie A table-toppers are enjoying a season to remember so far, currently finding themselves cruising towards their first Serie A title in more than 30 years and being on the cusp of an appearance in the last-eight of Europe’s premier club competition. Much of their success has stemmed from the contributions of striker Victor Osimhen.
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The Nigerian goal-getter, who joined the Italian giants in 2020 from Lille, has netted a very impressive 21 goals in just 27 appearances this season, cementing himself as one of the most talked about strikers in Europe. United, of course, plan to recruit an elite-level striker this forthcoming summer and Osimhen has already made his way onto their radar.
The 24-year-old is an athletic, modern-day striker who would suit Reds manager Erik ten Hag’s preferred system, pointing towards his preference to have a quick, interchangeable front-three that is both fluid and vibrant. Osimhen has pace to burn, meaning he would be a perfect fit.
Naturally, however, his exploits for Napoli so far this season mean that he will command a huge transfer fee come the summer. Napoli will not give in easily and will be well within their rights to put up a stern fight, even though Osimhen has already admitted that it is his “dream” to come to the Premier League.
His exploits this season have understandably generated interest from right across Europe, with many United fans believing he is the answer to the club’s striker search. If United do win the race for his signature, it will be a statement signing, such is the level of his recent development.
He has been hailed by fans, pundits, fellow players and managers, including former United boss and current Roma chief Jose Mourinho. Earlier this year, the Portuguese hailed Osimhen, so much so that he compared him to Chelsea icon Didier Drogba, who is one of the Premier League’s greatest strikers of all time.
Mourinho, speaking in January, said: “He is of the same level as Drogba, but Didier didn’t dive. If Victor changes, then okay. I’d buy him if I was at a club with a lot of money.
“However, if he does go to England one day, he needs to change, because in Italy they put up with this sort of behaviour, whereas in the Premier League, they’d come down hard on him.”
Mourinho, who spent over two years in charge at Old Trafford, is not the only former United employee to compare Osimhen with Drogba. Former loanee Odion Ighalo, as recently as last week, likened his fellow countryman to the former Ivory Coast international.
“I think Didier Drogba,” said Ighalo, when asked who Osimhen reminded him of. “I remember Didier Drogba, the way he scored goals, the way he fought, the way he ran, the way he put his head and leg on every ball. He just wanted to score goals.”
If Osimhen is being mentioned in the same breath as Drogba it is only a good thing. The latter was one of the finest strikers of his generation, scoring north of 100 Premier League goals in a richly decorated career.
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