After sealing that record move from Lille in the summer, it appears Victor Osimhen isn’t having a sleek ride as expected on the Serie A turf with concerns already brewing about the striker’s form of late.
Osimhen arrived Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on the back of an incredible first season at Lille – netting 13 Ligue 1 goals from 25 starts – before the league was suspended due to coronavirus pandemic.
The 22-year-old striker hit the ground running in his first two outings for the Azzurris – pre-season friendlies – where he bagged six goals against two clubs from the lower divisions.
In the wake of his arrival, the former Wolfsburg and Charleroi forward was tipped to make the same impact as club legend, Diego Maradona. But, such expectation took a hit, as the Nigeria international has only found the net twice in 13 appearances so far.
Although, his boss Genaro Gattuso, who had pushed for his move owing to his obsession for the striker’s style of play, did sway off pressure on the youngster.
With Napoli reaching a seventh defeat in the Serie A and pressure ramping up on the 43-year-old gaffer, Osimhen is even more obliged to repay his boss’ faith in him when they square off against Juventus on Saturday.
The AFCON Bronze medalist has been inactive for his Italian club after he sustained a shoulder injury during an international duty in October.
He was handed his start at Gewiss stadium in a Coppa Italia match against Atalanta but the Osimhen was far from his best in a match Napoli lost and failed to book a place in the final of the Italian Cup.
Meanwhile, Gattuso has reckoned that his record signing needs time to settle in following his inactivity for more than 90 days due to injury and Covid-19 experience.
“It’s not easy to be at the top of the game after being out for 94 days,” Gattuso told the club website yesterday.
“He’s still lacking that sharpness, which is his main asset, but he’s gradually making progress. He’s capable of much more,” he pointed out.
Nigeria national team coach Gernot Rohr will hope Osimhen returns to his impressive form before their 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in March.
The centre-forward has bagged four goals in the qualifiers to help the Super Eagles lead Group L with eight points.