The rise of Nigerian youngster, Victor Osimhen
Osimhen is one of the hottest strikers in the world now. The Nigerian forward enjoyed an impressive season in the French league with Lille. His signing came after the departure of Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal. The former Sporting Charleroi hitman was drafted as a direct replacement.
The 21-year-old did not take time to establish himself at Lille. He scored 18 goals and laid off 6 assists in 38 appearances in the season. Thirteen of the goals came in the French league. He may have scored more if not for the forced cancellation of French league due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This goal tally assured him of a place as the French club’s highest goal scorer. He became Lille’s player of the season following the footstep of his predecessor, Ivorien Nicolas Pepe. He is the second Nigerian to win the award after Enyeama.
Osimhen excellent season did not go unnoticed as he has been rewarded with the 2020 edition of Marc-Vivien Foe award. This is the award given to the best African footballer in French football. He was chosen ahead of Moses Simon of Nantes, Islam Slimani of Monaco, Saint-Etienne’s Denis Bouanga and others.
Although his current contract runs till 2024, it will be very difficult to see Osimhen playing at the Stade Pierre Mauroy for much longer. The club owner Gerard Perez has confirmed that there are top teams in Europe eager to secure their prized asset.
There has been a strong report emerging from Italy linking the striker with Napoli. An €81 million transfer to the Parthenopeans is said to be imminent according to L’Equipe.
He is also linked with the English giant, Liverpool. If he goes to Liverpool, he will have the chance to work with one of the football’s best tacticians. Though a move to the Reds will not prove a straight path to the first team. It is obvious Klopp trusts Brazilian Firmino. This is due to his ability to drop deep and link up with his teammates. He also has excellent playmaking skills.
A move to a bigger team in Europe will further enhance his burgeoning reputation. It will also provide a bigger platform for him to showcase his talent and prove that he can score at the biggest stage.
For all his exploits, there is still room for improvement in his game. He is very good at aerial battles and finishing. But, still needs to work on his movement off the ball, passing, ball retention, and offside awareness.
The good news is that he is still very young and can improve. He needs to go to the right club with a good system that will horn up his talents.