• Striker to wear Zola’s number 9 jersey
Napoli have agreed an initial €60m fee with Lille for Victor Osimhen, with the Nigeria striker set to sign a five-year contract and join the Serie A side in the most expensive transfer deal of the summer so far.
The 21-year-old scored 18 goals in all competitions for Lille before the French season ended prematurely owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and has been linked with several English clubs including Manchester United and Liverpool. But Osimhen, who changed agent last week, looks set to move to Napoli after negotiations between the clubs were completed on Thursday.
It is understood the fee could rise to €81m after a number of performance-related add-ons – €1m more than the African record transfer fee Arsenal paid Lille for the Ivory Coast international Nicolas Pépé last summer. There is also an option to extend Osimhen’s contract by a further year.
According to Napoli’s official radio station, Osimhen has already chosen a shirt number to wear ahead of his imminent move to the Italian Serie A club.
The Nigeria international has asked for the number 9 jersey used by former Tottenham Hotspur star Fernando Llorente in the 2019-2020 season.
The Napoli number 9 shirt has also been worn by Gonzalo Higuaín, Gianfranco Zola, Daniel Fonseca, Nicola Amoruso and Simone Verdi in the past.
Osimhen wore the number 7 on his back at Lille, while he was given the number 18 and 45 at Wolfsburg and Sporting RSC Charleroi respectively.
He has worn the number 9 for the Golden Eaglets, Flying Eagles, Olympic Eagles and most recently Super Eagles following the retirement of Odion Ighalo.
Meanwhile, Lille are expected to step up their efforts to sign Jonathan David having seen a €25m bid for the Canada striker rejected by Gent this month. The French club have signed the 35-year-old Turkey striker Burak Yilmaz in preparation for Osimhen’s departure and have been told they must pay a Belgian record fee of €30m to secure David.