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Friday, June 14, 2024

Osimhen’s €12m salary scaring EPL suitors dream

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Victor Osimhen’s €12m net annual salary at Napoli leaves in the balance his dream of moving to the English Premier League this summer. The 25-year-old has for the past two years been linked with Arsenal, Manchester United, Newcastle United and Chelsea, who are no longer inclined to sign him due to his huge salary. Despite extending his contract with Napoli in December, Osimhen made it clear he would leave Diego Maradona Stadium at the end of the season. The former Serie A champions have also not hidden their desire to bid him goodbye sooner than later, hoping a suitor will offset the €130m release clause, which they smartly inserted in his new contract. The reigning African Player of The Year was initially touted to be on his way to PSG as a replacement for Real Madrid-bound Kylian Mbappe, but the French Ligue One champions ended his pursuit sooner than it had began, ostensibly due to his massive wages. A couple of days ago, the Nigerian striker was reportedly close to joining Chelsea, his preferred destination, over the need to follow in the footsteps of his idol Didier Drogba, the Ivorian legend who notched 226 goals in 100 appearances for the club from 2004 to 2012, but the Tom Todd Boehly-led board ended negotiations with Napoli over his annual salary after initially agreeing to a Romelu Lukaku plus €80m swap deal. However, the Premier League remains Osimhen’s preferred destination, but with Chelsea sensationally pulling out and his name no longer mooted at Manchester United and Newcastle, Arsenal are the only suitors left in the fray. Mikel Arteta’s fervent search for a top striker meant the London club would leap onto the fray, which they did, as reports in Italy over the weekend linked them with a shock swap deal that could see Osimhen move to the Emirates Stadium with Emile Smith Rowe moving to Napoli. A twist has also occurred in this direction, with the Emirates giants developing cold feet and are currently in talks with RB Leipzig for Benjamin Sesko, the 21-year-old with a release clause of €65m that is valid until the end of June. In the event of any of his Premier League suitors rekindling their interest in the coming days, Osimhen will most likely end up in the Saudi Pro League, where he turned down a mouthwatering €140m offer from Al-Hilal earlier this year, harping on the need to make a decision that is good for his career. For Napoli, the former Wolfsburg player is already part of their history, and they have been scurrying Europe for a suitable replacement. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, some of the players lined up by the Partenopei are Joshua Zirkzee, Jonathan David, Bayer Leverkusen’s Nigerian striker Victor Boniface, Feyenoord’s Santiago Gimenez, Crystal Palace’s Jean-Philippe Mateta, OGC Nice, and Nigerian striker Terem Moffi.

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