If reports from French publication Le10 Sport is anything to go by, Nigerian international , Victor Osimhen maybe a Red Devil next season as Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is said to have made getting the forward’s signature one of their priorities in the next transfer window. Aside from the claim that the Premier League giants feel Osimhen has “all the qualities” to succeed in England, the Norwegian Manager may have been buoyed by the Lille of France striker’s countryman’s success at Old Trafford.
With less than a year after Nigerian international Victor Osimhen joined Ligue 1 side, Lille from Belgian club Charleroi, he has been in lethal form and has been attracting interest from top European sides, with Manchester United now the front runner.
The United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was desperate for striking reinforcements after losing Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan last August, but he did manage to bolster his ranks in January with the loan addition of Odion Ighalo from Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua.
The ex-Watford ace has got off to a fine start at Old Trafford with four goals in eight matches, which may have inspired Solskjaer to be gunning for Oshimen.
Reports also have it that European giants Real Madrid and Manchester United are already locked in a summer transfer battle to sign Nigerian international centre forward.
It is claimed that Solskjaer is lining up a move for Osimhen as a replacement for Belgian hotshot Romelu Lukaku, who sealed a permanent transfer to Inter Milan last summer, while Real Madrid are said to be in the market for a striker to replace the aging Frenchman Karim Benzema and are also willing to offload Luka Jovic, who has failed to hit top form since his arrival from Eintracht Frankfurt last summer, the French website has reported.
However, Spanish sports daily Marca, a trusted voice on Real Madrid has identified five potential targets Los Blancos are interested in signing and Osimhen has not been named to the list of strikers.
Norwegian scoring sensation Erling Haaland is their primary target ahead of Kylian Mbpappe, Lautaro Martinez, Timo Werner and Neymar.
Under contract with Lille until June 2024, Osimhen has caught the eye this season with 18 goals across all competitions, meaning any interested suitors will have to cough out big to sign him.
The Nigerian is also Lille’s top scorer in this campaign, with Loic Remy coming in at a distant second with six goals in the league.
In the entire league, only Wissam Ben Yedder, Kylian Mbappe and Moussa Dembele have scored more goals than the young Nigerian forward.
He’s tied on number of goals with PSG’s Brazilian star Neymar, but the latter has two more assists (6) than him, while both are the only non-nationals in the top five goal scorers in Ligue Un so far this season.
However, suitors will have to cough up a staggering €100m if they want to sign Nigerian striker. According to Le 10 Sport, Liverpool who enquired of Osimhen’s services have been told that they will have to come up with an offer of €100m (£92.8m) if they want to sign Osimhen from Lille during this summer’s transfer window.
Lille fans were left in anguish when their jewel attacker-Nicolas Pepe left the French club to join Premier League side, Arsenal. And when the Ligue 1 side signed Nigerian international they felt he was not the kind of player that could fill Pepe’s shoes but Osimhen answered with a brace in his first game.
Osimhen announced his arrival in Ligue 1 with a brace for Lille against Nantes despite having trained for just five days with his new mates. The then 20-year-old Super Eagles forward showed his control and speed when he outran Molla Wague and placed his shot past Alban Lafont.
Osimhen then crashed a shot from the tightest of angles with 10 minutes left on the clock to score the winner after Nantes had earlier equalised in the 51st to the relieve of Lille fans and Manager Christophe Galtier, who acquired the Nigerian for 12 million Euros.
Osimhen had been expected to struggle to fill the shoes of Pepe this season but the new arrival showed no signs of any pressure with both goals and was hailed as a potential new star in French football and he did not disappoint.
Osimhen has been all smiles since. “I feel very good, I have been waiting a long time since I arrived here and I felt it was important to make a successful debut. Ligue 1 is a big jump up for me, I think it’s one of the best leagues in the world.
“When I get opportunities on the field, I do not want to miss them. I am not yet 100 per cent but I train hard and I know that with time I will be at the top physically,” he told reporters after the match.
Osimhen was liked with several European clubs before Lille paid 12 million euro to Sporting Chaeleroi to move the Nigerian to France for a new transfer record by the Danish-based club, breaking the six million euros fee they were paid by Pyramids of Egypt to sign Cristian Benavente.
Inter Milan once contacted Osimhen’s representatives about a possible deal as a replacement for former captain Mauro Icardi who was involved in a row with the club after he was stripped of the captain armband and his relationship with the management have hit rock bottom levels.
The deal however, encountered some complications as Charleroi are willing to use every means available to trigger the clause of buying him permanently before selling him for a hefty profit and also a percentage of his future sale.
Wolfsburg on the other hand, wanted the striker back after his loan spell but it is believed they want to trade him off as their player to recoup some of their investment in the player they signed in 2015 following his exploits at the U-17 World Youth Championship.
His impressive form earned him a recall to the Super Eagles squad for 2019 Nations Cup qualifier against South Africa and he also started in 0-0 friendly draw against Uganda in Asaba.
“My confidence level was very low at some point and what going out on loan to Charleroi has done for me is unexplainable,” Osimhen said.
“It was tough in Germany because of the high expectations – some people started doubting me and also pushed me to start doubting myself as well.
“The football in Belgium has helped, I also have a wonderful group of players around me and the coaching crew have been great with me.”
Osimhen was the top scorer as Nigeria clinched a fifth Under-17 World Cup title in 2015 with 10 goals in Chile, which saw him win the Golden Boot and Silver Ball.
After the tournament he decided against joining English side Arsenal, to sign with the 2009 German champions Wolfsburg in January 2016, but injuries restricted him to 16 appearances for the club in all competitions.
Despite being a part of the squad for two years, his lack of games meant he missed out of the 2018 World Cup with Nigeria.
On the back of his impressive performance at 2015 U-17 World Cup with the Nigerian emerging the top scorer to claim both the Golden Boot and Silver Ball, the attacker joined the former German Bundesliga champions.
However, the 19-year-old failed to settle into the Wolves’ senior set-up amid injury struggles and was shipped on loan to Charleroi last summer.
Since moving to Belgium, the youngster has rediscovered his form.
Osimhen scored 19 goals in 34 league appearances last season, including the playoffs to finish as the highest-ranked Nigerian player in the European Golden Shoe rankings with 28.5 points.