*”Calcio Napoli, wishing to avoid any exploitation of the issue, point out that we never wanted to offend or mock Victor Osimhen, who is a treasure of this club”
In what appears a desperate move to placate Victor Osimhen, Italian Serie A champions, Napoli, insisted on Thursday that the offensive TikTok video post on the club’s account on Tuesday was not intended to “offend or mock” the Nigerian striker.
Napoli’s statement yesterday was in reaction to Osimhen’s agent, Roberto Calenda, threatening to institute legal actions against the Naples-based club for the video that derided his client. Osimhen also deleted all videos and pictures of him in Napoli shirts from his Instagram page on Wednesday.
But the club stressed further in the statement: “Osimhen is “a treasure of this club”.
“Calcio Napoli, wishing to avoid any exploitation of the issue, point out that we never wanted to offend or mock Victor Osimhen, who is a treasure of this club,” the club said.
“As proof of that, during the summer training retreat, the Club firmly rebuffed every offer that was received for the striker’s transfer abroad.
“Social media, in particular TikTok, has always used an expressive form of language with a light heart and creativity, without wanting to, as in the case with Osimhen as protagonist, have any intention of insult or derision.
“In any case, if Victor perceived any offence towards him, this was not what the club intended,” the statement concluded.
Earlier yesterday, Napoli Head Coach, Rudi Garcia, doused the tension generated by Osimhen’s outburst when he was substituted late into the Serie A clash with Bologna on Sunday.
In an interview with http://Metro.co.uk, Garcia said: “In Bologna we were all frustrated at not winning and he (Osimhen) was even more after missing a penalty, so that can happen,”said Garcia after Napoli’s 4-1 victory against Udinese during which Osimhen ended his goal-drought, scoring a goal on Wednesday. “We cleared the air, it all went back to normal.
“Over the last two days there was a bit of trouble with some clumsy behaviour. Nobody wanted to be hurtful, not the TikTok with the video of Victor, nor Victor by taking his photographs down on social media.
“Nobody intended to hurt anyone, these are instinctive reactions and are understandable.
“It is his social media account, he can do what he wants with it. All I can say is that he loves this jersey and will give everything for Napoli this season as well,” Garcia defended his prized striker in an interview by Metro.co.uk yesterday.
Osimhen who was on the radar of top European clubs like Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and PSG during the summer transfer window is on contract at Napoli till June 2025.
Although Napoli have table a fresh contract for the Nigerian to extend his stay in Naples, Osimhen is reluctant to sign because of lack of a release clause in it.
If they are unable to resolve the present rift, the only option left for the Italian League champions is to allow Osimhen leave in summer for the club to cash out huge profit. If he stays till 2025, Osimhen will walk away a free agent.