Arsenal were reportedly ‘very close’ to signing Napoli striker Victor Osimhen ahead of his move to Italy, it has been revealed.
The Nigerian frontman was extremely highly rated during his time with Lille and eventually elected to move to Napoli last summer in a £52m deal.
However, according to Italian journalist Paolo Bargiggia, his destination could well have been north London instead of Naples – whilst he has also compared the former Wolfsburg forward to Romelu Lukaku who returned to Chelsea earlier this year.
Speaking to 1 Station Radio, he said: “Osimhen, at a cash level, was paid only 50 million: a figure that, with hindsight, is low.
Let’s forget that the four counterparts given to Lille were convenient for the budget, but Osimhen, in a year, he can reach over 100 million and approach the ratings of Romelu Lukaku. Moreover, he earns only 5 million gross in salary: not much, for a striker of his calibre.
“You must know that Osimhen was followed by Arsenal: he was very close to the Gunners, but Cristiano Giuntoli spoke with Aurelio De Laurentiis and the president broke the delay: so Napoli decided and managed to buy him.”
Arsenal did make a move for a Lille forward a year prior to Osimhen’s move as they secured the signature of Ivorian winger Nicolas Pepe for £72m.