Osimhen has had some off-pitch struggles with Napoli this season.
After an impressive 2022/23 football season that saw Victor Osimhen finish as the top scorer in the Italian Serie A with 25 goals and help Napoli secure their first league title in 33 years, the Nigerian striker continued from where he left off in the previous season with a brace against Frosinone in Napoli’s 23/24 season league opener and a lone strike in their 2-0 win over Sassuolo in their second game.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria striker would go on a four-game goal drought after his goal against Sassuolo, marking the start of his troubles with the Partenopei this season.
Osimhen would show his frustration on the pitch in a 0-0 draw against Bologna by questioning Rudi Garcia’s decision to substitute him after missing a penalty and hitting the woodwork.
Rudi Garcia would dismiss the likelihood of a problem with the Super Eagles of Nigeria striker in the dressing room, insisting that “even the greatest players in the history of football miss penalties. As for when he went off, we talked about that; what I say to my players remains in the locker room.”
Things would take another turn after a TikTok video post on Napoli’s official account appeared to mock Osimhen’s penalty miss.
Following the controversy generated by the post, it was deleted, but an angry Osimhen brought down every post relating to Napoli on his Instagram page as his agent Roberto Calenda threatened legal action against the club.
“What happened today on Napoli’s official profile on the TikTok platform is not acceptable. A video mocking Victor was first made public and then, but now belatedly, deleted,” Calenda said at the time.
“It is a serious fact that causes very serious damage to the player and adds to the treatment that the boy is suffering in the last period between media trials and fake news. We reserve the right to take legal action and any useful initiative to protect Victor.”
Napoli never apologized to the Nigerian publicly but released an official statement, noting that the post was not made to dent the reputation of the Nigerian but was sarcastic.
Osimhen rediscovered his goal-scoring form after the problem and is currently in second place on the Italian Serie A goal scorers chart with six league goals, six behind Lautaro Martinez.
Napoli’s president, De Laurentiis, would stir up another controversy after saying that the club has agreed to a contract renewal with Osimhen, but “life goes on” if the Nigerian decides not to renew.
To avoid another controversy, the Italian champions would release an official statement, noting:
“President de Laurentiis never shared any negative comment about Victor. He just said that after verbally agreeing on plan to sign new deal, Osimhen changed his mind.
“We hope it’s just stand-by moment to think about it. In the next weeks we will discuss with his agent Calenda about the future.
“Reports of tense situation between Napoli and Osimhen are 100% wide of mark.’’
Osimhen set a number of records last season as he became the first African player to finish as the highest goal scorer in an Italian Serie A season, the highest scoring African in the Italian league, the first African to win the league, and the highest goal scorer in the same season, among a few more records.
Top European sides Real Madrid, Chelsea, Juventus, Arsenal, and Manchester United are in need of a top striker. The Nigerian could be tempted to leave Napoli during the winter transfer window or the summer.