Arsenal handed boost as Napoli striker casts doubt over future after £51m opening bid

Date published: Wednesday 15th June 2022 10:47 - Will Ford

Man Utd target Osimhen

Napoli star Victor Osimhen admits “anything can happen” this summer amid speculation over his future and interest from Arsenal.

Following a successful season in Ligue 1 with Lille, Osimhen joined Napoli in 2020, who paid a club-record fee to bring him in for £60m plus add-ons.

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The forward has netted 28 goals in 62 appearances for the Serie A side over the past two seasons.

Osimhen missed 13 games through injury last term but he still found the net 18 times in 32 appearances across all competitions.

The 23-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League in recent months, with Arsenal consistently linked.

Reports from Italy claim that Arsenal ‘have tried to have an appointment’ with Napoli as they have come with a ‘starting base’ of £51m.

Napoli have been ‘clear to everyone’ that teams should not ‘waste time’ and they ‘won’t even sit down to talk’ until a bid of £85m comes in.

Should the Serie A side hold out for that fee Arsenal may well be ruled out, but Osimhen’s recent comments suggest he is open to leaving Napoli this summer.

“I always go out on the pitch to do my best both with the national team and with my club,” said Osimhen.

“I don’t know my future, I know anything can happen, but now I just want to go on holiday with my family, clear my head and recharge my batteries.

“Then we’ll take care of everything else.”

Arsenal are also interested in Gabriel Jesus, though Stan Collymore has urged the Manchester City striker to snub a move to Mikel Arteta’s side in favour of a switch to Chelsea.

“There are rumours of Chelsea sniffing around and I don’t think Arsenal will be the only club in the race for him this summer,” Collymore said.

“But if he goes to Chelsea he could be the player Romelu Lukaku was promised to be but wasn’t. At Chelsea, they create loads of chances, they will stick the ball in the box and Jesus can be the fox in the box I’ve so often said they need. If Jesus just concentrated on doing some really good work in the box, he could be that man.

“At Arsenal, with the support cast they have, which is still two rookies in Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka — and we don’t know for sure that they will still be wearing Gunners shirts in two years’ time, with Saka being linked with Liverpool and City — if I was Jesus I would be thinking of myself in the blue shirt at Stamford Bridge.

“I’d be thinking that Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and, if he stays, Timo Werner would be putting it on a plate for me and I’d be getting my 25 goals as a regular starter next season. What he’s not going to do is fire Arsenal into the Champions League next season because it’s not just a case of them needing a finisher.

“They need to buy in players who have belief in the project and yet I don’t even see any of their big-name rookies putting out any signs that they have a massive belief Arsenal are going to get to the Champions League this time next year.

“So if you’re Jesus, signed as ‘The Man’, which puts a lot of additional pressure on you as well, then why go there when you could go to the Emirates when you could go to Stamford Bridge and be at a place where you’re much more of a natural fit. With that in mind, my advice is, ‘Go to London, Gabriel, but go to the blue side, not the red.”

“But let’s say Arsenal get him, my general worry and concern about Arsenal, as ever, is could we trust Mikel Arteta to get the best out of Jesus, could he be the manager who makes him fulfil his potential, if Pep Guardiola couldn’t? I don’t think so.


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