The Nigerian forward did not convince many of his quality during a turbulent first campaign in the Italian top-flight, and some of those have since been converted to his biggest admirers
Former Juventus winger Oscar Damiani has confessed that he was one of those who never gave Victor Osimhen the chance to adapt quickly to the techniques of Serie A after his switch to Napoli last year.
Damiani knew Osimhen back when he was at Lille, where the Nigerian found the back of the net 18 times, including twice in the UEFA Champions League, in his single season with Les Dogues.
Several of Europe’s major clubs were alerted of the availability of the Super Eagles striker before Napoli paid an African and club-record transfer fee to beat others to his signing.
Osimhen’s performance did not light up Italy in his first year as he suffered injuries and coronavirus-related problems while managing ten goals for Napoli.
But the 22-year-old striker has been exceptional since the start of the 2021-22 season, notching five Serie A goals and another four in the Europa League to power Napoli to the top of the league and with a chance to qualify for the knockout round of the continental competition.
Osimhen’s brilliance has finally won over retired Italian attacker Damiani, who has been singing his praises.
“Osimhen? He’s fantastic, I already knew him, but he has improved a lot since Lille, both in terms of execution and from a tactical point of view,” the 1974/75 Serie A winner told 1 Station Radio, as per TuttoNapoli.
“He learned to move and play for the team. I didn’t think he would have integrated so quickly into Italian football; he surprised me.”
“He has a devastating physicality, but he still needs to improve from a technical point of view: he still misses too many stops.”
Ex-Inter Milan man Christian Vieri earlier knocked those who criticised Osimhen’s less-than-impressive outing for the Neapolitans last term.
Meanwhile, Osimhen will not be able to add to his nine goals when Napoli take on Legia Warsaw in the Europa League on Thursday as he is still recovering from a calf injury sustained in training last week.