It has been a whirlwind last few months for Victor Osimhen which started with him signing permanently for Royal Charleroi before he was included in the Super Eagles squad for the Africa Cup Of Nations in Egypt.
His memorable summer was completed when he signed a five-year deal with French Ligue 1 club Lille. The deal will see him spend the next five years with Les Douges.
The new move tells a remarkable story of how far the lanky striker has come. After winning the U-17 World cup in 2015 with the Golden Eaglets, the former Ultimate Strikers Academy product was snapped up by Bundesliga side, Wolfsburg.
While he would have hoped his move to Die Wölfe was the start of something great, it was the opposite as his career stalled due to injuries and sickness. Injuries restricted him to just 14 appearances in his first year at the Volkswagen Arena.
Following his recovery, the Bundesliga club tried to send him on loan to Belgian sides Club Brugge and Zulte Waregem, but he failed trials due to a malaria sickness that weakened his body according to popular sports journalist, Zach Lowy.
One of my favorite comeback stories this year has been Victor Osimhen’s 🇳🇬.
Malaria had weakened his body to the point where he failed trials at Club Brugge and Zulte Waregem last year. Now he’s set to join Lille for €14m & play CL football after scoring 19 goals for Charleroi. pic.twitter.com/qaH6qLdCho
— Zach Lowy (@ZachLowy) July 26, 2019
At a point, Osihmen’s career was mirroring that of another Golden Eaglets star in Chrisantus. Much was expected from the 2007 U-17 world cup winner who won the golden ball in that competition, beating Toni Kroos and Bojan Kroos.
But the striker’s career ended before it even started with Chrisantus nowhere to be found now and there were fears Osimhen’s career was going in that route.
However, Royal Charleroi took a chance on him in 2018, and it was there where he rediscovered his form. The 20-year-old found his scoring touch again, finding the back of the net 29 times in 36 appearances.
His form for Les Zèbres last season earned him a spot in Super Eagles squad that went to AFCON and that has also earned him a move to Lille who shelled out 12m euros that could rise to 20m for the Nigerian international.
🤗 Bienvenue à la maison, Victor 🇳🇬 pic.twitter.com/uGYjEgCDCI
— LOSC (@losclive) August 1, 2019
With this move to the Stade Pierre Mauroy, Osimhen has the chance to show the stuff he’s made of on the big stage. He is expected to replace Portuguese striker Rafael Leao as Lille top marksman.
OFFICIAL: Victor Osimhen joins Lille on a 5-year contract. Fee reportedly €12m + €2m in bonuses, with Charleroi keeping a 15% sell-on fee.
With Rafael Leão set to join Milan, the Nigerian youngster will likely be starting up top in the league and Champions League this season. https://t.co/s2Dqym8iPs
— Zach Lowy (@ZachLowy) August 1, 2019
There’s no better club for Osimhen to continue his development than Lille. Not only has the French club been the homes to former Nigerian players like Vincent Enyeama and Peter Odemwingie, but they have also produced stars who have gone on to be world-class.
Lille was the club Eden Hazard talents were noticed before he made a name for himself at Chelsea. Osimhen can also look at the story of Nicolas Pepe as motivation. The Ivorien international just sealed an African record move to Arsenal after scoring 37 goals along with 15 assists in 79 games for Les Douges.
With Lille being a club that nurtures a player’s talent for the bigger teams, Osimhen could be the next big star from Nigeria to play for one of the historic clubs in the world if he continues the hard work.
The Nigerian international will get the chance to showcase his talents at the biggest club competition in world football as Lille are playing in the UEFA Champions League next season.
If he proves himself on the biggest stage, the former Wolfsburg striker may not have to stay long at the Stade Pierre Mauroy before the big clubs come for him.
On the international scene, the move also gives Osimhen the chance to stake a claim for the Number nine shirt that was vacated by Odion Ighalo.
The Super Eagles are lacking a traditional centre forward following Ighalo’s retirement, but Osimhen could be the perfect replacement for the former Watford striker.
However, he will need to show he has what it takes to step into his shoes by delivering the goods at Lille.