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Victor Boniface: Fit for Osimhen’s ‘Big Shoes’?

Victor Boniface: Fit for Osimhen’s ‘Big Shoes’?

If there is one player that has been in the news as far as the summer transfer is concerned, it is Nigeria’s in-form striker, Victor Osimhen. And in order not to be caught unawares should the Super Eagle decide to dump the Maradona Stadium in the Summer, Napoli are already in the market for a replacement for the Serie A hot shot, and one name that tops the shopping list of the Little Donkeys is compatriot and Union Saint Gilloise striker, Victor Borniface. The big question however remains if the former Bodo/Glimt can wear the big shoe Osimhen will leave behind should he be prized away from Naples

Victor Boniface has been one of Union Saint-Gilloise’s stars this season and could make the jump to Italy as both Napoli and Milan reportedly set their sights on the striker.

The 22-year-old Nigerian forward joined the Belgian side last summer from Bodo/Glimt in a deal worth around €2m, a price that looks like a bargain in hindsight considering his explosive work this season.

His 14 goals and eight assists in his first 39 matches for Saint-Gilloise is attracting attention across Europe.

Belgian outlet Nieewsblad reports that Napoli have been closely scouting Boniface this season and been impressed with what they’ve seen, and are therefore interested in making a move in the summer.

Boniface’s intermediaries are reported to have been in contact with Milan recently, another team who have been following the 22-year-old closely.  Lazio are also keen on the Nigerian forward but are currently focused on Tigre striker Mateo Retegui.

Union Saint-Gilloise value Boniface at around €10m, making a deal accessible for the interested Italian sides.

Reports from Belgium suggest that Lazio are one of three Serie A clubs interested in signing Union Saint Gilloise striker Victor Boniface.

The 22-year-old Nigerian forward joined the Belgian outfit from Bodo/Glimt last summer for just €2m, and has quickly proven his abilities in a more difficult league, scoring seven goals and providing five assists across 27 Juplier Pro League appearances.

Lazio know that they need to sign a new centre forward in the summer to take some of the pressure off of talismanic striker Ciro Immobile, and a number of options are being considered.

As reported by Het Nieuwsblad, Lazio have joined Milan and Napoli in the race for Boniface, a physical striker with a strong eye for goal.

Valued at around €10 million, the Rossoneri and Partenopei have already scouted the 22-year-old on a number of occasions.

Lazio are hoping to pick up Tigre striker Mateo Retegui in the summer but could switch to Boniface should they miss out on the Argentine-Italian.

Boniface, who has been dubbed the ‘next Osimhen’ by some is Milan’s latest idea for the summer window as he continues to shine for USG, having scored 19 goals in 43 appearances across all competitions this season.

His role, nationality, home city (Lagos) and even first name is the same as that of Osimhen. If it weren’t for size and age – given Boniface is two years younger and a few centimeters taller – there would be even more coincidence.

Boniface’s career started in Nigeria with Real Sapphire but as soon as he hit 18 he moved to Bodo/Glimt in 2019, the same club Jens Petter Hauge came from.

In his three years there he played alongside Botheim (now at Salernitana) and Solbakken (at Roma).

Before leaving Bodo/Glimt and moving to Union Saint-Gilloise he played in the Champions League preliminaries, scoring four goals across two games against Klaksvik and another against Linfield before absent in the two legs against Rangers. Five goals became 10 thanks to the other give scored in the Europa League with USG.

Boniface is a great friend of another Nigerian striker who plays in Belgium, namely Gent’s Gift Orban, who scored three goals in four minutes in the last round of the Conference League and has also been linked with Milan.

With Osimhen’s departure from Napoli this summer gathering momentum. Reports in Belgium this week have it that the Italian Serie A leaders who are on the verge of winning their first Scudetto in 33 years, may have caved in to requests to lure the Nigerian international away from Naples.

Osimhen, who is top scorer in the Italian topflight on 21 goals from 23 league games is on the radar of both Manchester United and Chelsea even as there are also interests from Arsenal.

Interestingly, both Osimhen and the 22-year-old Boniface share same traits and attacking style.

With the two Premier League teams believed to be studying the $150million transfer tag on Osimhen, Napoli too have been reported to be considering Boniface as Plan B should their prized asset leave for England in the summer transfer window.

Boniface with potential to become another Nigerian hit in Italy should the deal pull through, will be another jackpot for the Naples club.

The ex-Real Sapphire youth player has been outstanding and is the joint second joint scorer in this season’s UEFA Europa League with five goals, one goal behind Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford.

It however remains to be seen if Borniface could meet up to the high-level performance of his compatriot should Osimhen leave Naples.

Meanwhile, against the backdrop of reports that went round that Boniface ignored the Super Eagles call up for double legged AFCON qualifiers against Guinea-Bissau because the invitation came late the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, has cleared the air saying  the the striker was not a main consideration for the game’s against Guinea-Bissau.

“By way of clarification, Victor Boniface was not invited for the Super Eagles’ AFCON qualifiers against Guinea Bissau. He was on the provisional list but didn’t make the final list, and therefore was not sent a flight ticket,” NFF tweeted.

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