The Nigerian international will lead the country’s challenge for a fourth continental crown next year, and the Italian side will keep that in mind when making transfer decisions this summer
All things being equal, Victor Osimhen will be a vital member of the Nigerian squad aiming to lift a fourth Africa Cup of Nations title in Cameroon next year.
The Napoli striker scored five goals for the Super Eagles during the qualifying rounds to lead the goalscoring chart alongside Zambia’s Red Bull Salzburg forward Patson Daka.
He is likely to be head coach Gernot Rohr’s preferred centre-forward when Nigeria begin their hunt for a first Afcon trophy in eight years at the tournament to be held in Cameroon early next year.
With the last edition of the African championship hosted by Egypt two years ago, Cameroon 2022 was initially scheduled to kick off in January before the coronavirus outbreak forced its delay.
It is now planned to be played between January and February next year, at a time the European league season would be just past its midway point.
With Osimhen away with Nigeria, Napoli would thus be denied the services of the club’s most expensive player in history.
Napoli are therefore making transfer plans to curb the effect of losing their prized asset during a crucial month in the campaign.
According to TuttoNapoli, as per La Repubblica, the club are keen to keep Belgian striker Dries Mertens – Napoli’s highest goalscorer in history – with the 34-year-old also recently maintaining he has no reason to leave Naples any time soon.
The Serie A giants will also retain the services of Torino-linked Andrea Petagna. They will only consider selling the former Spezia striker if an acceptable bid is for him and a suitable replacement is identified.
Osimhen scored ten goals and provided another three assists during his maiden campaign in Italy and he aims to be ready for action when the new season kicks off under new boss Luciano Spalletti.