Arsenal have upped the ante in their search for a striker this summer by contacting representatives for Victor Osimhen, according to a reporter.
Mikel Arteta cleared Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s departure in January. And now Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette are out of contract in June. Nketiah looks likely to leave on a free transfer, while contract talks at the end of the season with Lacazette could allow the 30-year-old to stay.
But either way, Arteta and Edu are on the hunt for a new No.9 and Osimhen is on their radar.
Earlier this month Italian point of sale Gazzetta dello Sportfelt Arsenal were ‘leading’ for the Napoli marksman.
Now journalist Freddie Paxton claims Arsenal made contact with Osimhen’s entourage and sounded him out for a summer transfer.
The main stumbling block, however, is the price of the Nigeria international.
His value at Napoli exceeds £100million and Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis will demand every penny of this assessment.
Paxton says Osimhen is “more interested” in Arsenal than a move to Newcastle.
Geordies were rumored to be interested in January ahead of Chris Wood’s purchase, while Man Utd have also been linked.
But the money Napoli have in mind may well rule out many suitors, including Arsenal. Sources have already said TEAMtalk that any transfer would prove “difficult” even at nine figures.
I’m told Arsenal have been in contact with Victor Osimhen’s agent. The feeling is that the interest is serious, but Napoli will expect more than €100m this summer. The player wants to play in England and has already been contacted by Newcastle. He is more interested in Arsenal.#AFC
— Freddie Paxton (@Freddie_Paxton) April 25, 2022
The striker’s agent, Roberto Calenda, has already mocked the transfer talks and said how Napoli is a great place for the striker to develop.
Osimhen “wants to play in England”
So much could come down to Osimhen’s desire to move on and break the contract he has until 2025.
The former Wolsburg striker has scored 16 goals in 28 games this season and an impressive 10 in 18 for Nigeria.
But all the previous noise from Napoli has suggested the Lagos-born frontman is in no particular rush to move on.
The news that the player ‘wants to play in England’ will be an angle the Gunners will try to exploit. This could well be the leverage they can use to try and drive the player price down.
Osimhen was signed by Napoli for around £60m from Ligue 1 side Lille in 2020. The high price tag has raised eyebrows, but is increasingly looking like a shrewd move by Laurentiis.
And it’s hard to see Napoli letting him go for much less than the reported £100m.