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Man United to sign Osimhen if move for Benfica star fails to materialize

By Ifeanyi Ibeh
13 April 2022   |   12:49 pm
.As Napoli president reaches decision on in-form Nigerian Napoli striker Victor Osimhen has emerged as a potential transfer target for Manchester United but a move to Old Trafford would only come to fruition for the Nigerian if the English Premier League giants fail in their bid to sign Benfica forward Darwin Nunez. Osimhen joined Napoli…

Victor Osimhen of Napoli celebrates after scoring his team’s opening goal during the Serie A match against Venezia. The Nigerian is reportedly a summer transfer target for Manchester United. Photo: AFP.

.As Napoli president reaches decision on in-form Nigerian

Napoli striker Victor Osimhen has emerged as a potential transfer target for Manchester United but a move to Old Trafford would only come to fruition for the Nigerian if the English Premier League giants fail in their bid to sign Benfica forward Darwin Nunez.

Osimhen joined Napoli from French club Lille in 2020 for a club-record fee of €70 million but endured a mediocre debut season with the Italian giants, scoring just 10 goals in 30 appearances.

The 23-year-old has, however, taken his game to another level this season, scoring 16 goals and providing five assists in 26 appearances in all competitions for Luciano Spaletti’s side.

His performances have helped Napoli climb up to third place in Serie A, two points behind league leaders AC Milan.

According to a report in The Sun, Manchester United are interested in signing Nunez this summer but the Red Devils are set to face stiff competition from a number of the Premier League’s top clubs, including the likes of Liverpool, Tottenham, and Arsenal.

Darwin Nunez celebrates after scoring a goal for Benfica. Photo: AFP

According to the report, Nunez prefers a move to Liverpool, Tottenham, and Arsenal over Manchester United due to the uncertainty surrounding the Red Devils.

Benfica signed Nunez from Almeria in the summer of 2020 for a club-record fee of €24 million.

The 22-year-old has enjoyed a breakout campaign this season, scoring 31 goals in just 36 appearances in all competitions, with his performances helping to propel Benfica to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

According to the Manchester Evening News, the Red Devils are reportedly set to prioritize signing a top-quality striker this summer as they brace themselves for the possible exits of Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial this summer.

Cavani’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season, while Martial is expected to secure a permanent move away from Old Trafford this summer after joining Sevilla on loan until the end of the season in January.

But Manchester United are currently seventh in the Premier League table, six points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur and are at risk of missing out on next season’s Champions League.

Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that the former Premier League champions are expected to appoint a new manager this summer.

Liverpool, on the other hand, are challenging for four trophies this season and are attempting to build a squad for the future at the same time. Tottenham and Arsenal are seemingly heading in the right direction under Antonio Conte and Mikel Arteta respectively, and are in desperate need of attacking reinforcements this summer.

However, Osimhen is very unlikely to leave Napoli in the summer despite interest from Manchester United and Arsenal, according to a TEAMtalk report.

Napoli’s Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen (up) jumps for the ball next to Barcelona’s Spanish defender Gerard Pique during the UEFA Europa League knockout round play-off second leg football match between SSC Napoli and FC Barcelona. (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP)

According to the report, citing sources, the president of the Serie A club Aurelio de Laurentiis does not wish to lose his club’s star player, and is prioritising keeping him in Naples above all else.

With Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, and Liverpool reportedly keen on the Nigerian, Laurentiis is prepared to fight off any and all interest. To do so, he is now prepared to be more financially strident in renewals for some of the club’s older players.

The report stated that a price-tag of £100m has been put on the player to scare away any would-be suitors.

Last week, Osimhen’s agent, Roberto Calenda, stated how Napoli is a great place to be for the striker’s development.

“There are no problems,” Calenda said via Football Italia. “Victor has already proved his close bond with this club.

“I don’t want to waste time talking about this, the situation is ridiculous. Just move on and talk about football.

“Osimhen is a young striker and with the right tips, his development is natural. [Napoli manager] Luciano Spalletti improves the players he works with.

“Everyone is happy about how things are going, Napoli are a precise choice for the striker’s development, as a man and as a footballer.”