No club in Europe or beyond has shelled out more money on an African footballer than the humongous fee Napoli agreed to part with to secure the signing of Victor Osimhen
Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen has confessed that his dream as a kid was to become a professional footballer, and he never imagined he could be worth millions of euros one day.
Growing up in one of the poorer parts of Lagos, Osimhen was as far from achieving his childhood dreams as the sky is to the sea. But providence found him at a national cadet team camp in Abuja, where he fought for and grabbed his opportunity with both hands.
Months later, Osimhen signed his first professional contract with Bundesliga side Wolfsburg after impressing as the Golden Eaglets powered to victory at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile.
But the then-teenager was not satisfied with just fulfilling a childhood fantasy; he also wanted to succeed as a footballer. So much that when he was not offered enough playing time at Wolfsburg, he engineered a loan switch to Royal Charleroi.
It was with the Belgian club that he made his first impact in Europe, contributing 24 goals (20 goals, four assists) in 36 matches.
Lille quickly swooped for him, taking him to France, where his excellent performances convinced many that he was the real deal.
Scoring 18 times in all competitions, including twice in the UEFA Champions League, and winning the Marc-Vivien Foe award for the best African player in France’s Ligue 1 jacked up his market value.
A clutch of the continent’s biggest clubs was linked to his signing, including dethroned Premier League champions Liverpool. But Napoli eventually won the race to his signature in July 2020, with the Serie A giants reportedly coughing out a club and African record transfer fee.
Osimhen admits he is pleased with his remarkable rise from the amateurs to the game’s peak in just six years, but the youngster is hungry for more success with Napoli.
“Of course, I am happy to be among the most expensive African footballers in history,” Osimhen told the BBC.
“I really want to get higher in the colours of Napoli. It was a childhood dream to become a professional footballer. I never knew this transfer or something this huge was going to happen.
“I just wanted to succeed in football, and do well for myself, take good care of my family and my few friends.”
Osimhen managed only ten goals for the Neapolitans in his debut campaign in Italy.
The 22-year-old has, however, hit seven goals in seven matches across all competitions for Luciano Spalletti’s men this term.
Three of those goals have come in two Europa League games, the latest of which was in Napoli’s 3-2 home defeat to Victor Moses’ Spartak Moscow on Thursday.