Al-Hilal Emerges as Top Contender for Victor Osimhen Amid Napoli Controversy
Victor Osimhen, the striker for Serie A's Napoli, is reportedly considering a move to Saudi Pro League giants Al-Hilal after a recent social media controversy in Italy.
The turmoil began when Napoli's official TikTok account posted two videos seemingly ridiculing the 24-year-old player. The first clip showed Osimhen missing a penalty, while the second, later deleted but widely shared online, made an inappropriate comparison, using a racial slur.
Roberto Calenda, Osimhen's agent, threatened legal action against Napoli as these videos gained traction on social media. Surprisingly, despite the social media uproar, Osimhen started and scored in Napoli's 4-1 victory against Udinese.
However, even before this incident, Osimhen had been unhappy at Napoli and may seek an exit just six months after playing a crucial role in securing Napoli's first Serie A title in 33 years.
If Osimhen decides to part ways with Napoli, one of Saudi Arabia's top clubs, Al-Hilal, is eager to secure his signature.
According to reports, Al-Hilal has offered Osimhen an eye-popping five-year deal that could see him earn up to £38 million annually, willing to pay his release clause, estimated at £173 million.
Napoli's owner, Aurelio De Laurentiis, firmly insisted that Osimhen, who was pivotal to the club's success the previous season, would remain at the club, rejecting Al-Hilal's lucrative offer.
During the summer transfer window, Bayern Munich and Newcastle also expressed interest in Osimhen, but Napoli's determination to retain him kept him in their squad.
However, the situation has since deteriorated. Osimhen fell out with Napoli's coach, Rudi Garcia, due to reduced playing time and displayed frustration when substituted during a recent match against Bologna. Osimhen even removed all evidence of his Napoli association from his Instagram account.
An earlier issue revolved around Napoli's refusal to allow Osimhen to film a charity video for African causes, which further strained their relationship.
Osimhen was also disappointed that Napoli did not immediately issue a public apology for the controversial TikToks.
The club privately addressed the matter with Osimhen but delayed releasing an official statement, which ultimately expressed their high regard for the player.
Napoli stated that they never intended to offend or mock Osimhen, emphasizing their refusal to entertain any offers for his transfer during the summer. They defended the content on social media, claiming it was meant to be lighthearted and creative rather than insulting.
As of now, Osimhen has not responded to the club's statement, which lacked a direct apology.
In case Osimhen decides to move in January, Chelsea is rumored to be interested in acquiring the talented striker to address their recent goal-scoring struggles. Chelsea scored only one goal in September, breaking a three-match goalless streak.
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