Osimhen Beware! See How Nigerian Strikers Have Fared In Italy As Lille Star Edges Closer To Serie A Move

Osimhen Beware! See How Nigerian Strikers Have Fared In Italy As Lille Star Edges Closer To Serie A Move 1

The Super Eagles star will leave the French Ligue 1 this summer with the Italian Serie A is likely destination. Lille manager Christophe Galtier confirmed last week that his star striker, Victor Osimhen, will leave the club with Napoli reportedly close to his signature.

Osimhen joined Les Dogues last year from Royal Charleroi, but he leaves after just a season which saw him score 18 goals and provide six assists in 38 games.

Although there are several top European clubs interested in his services, Napoli have reportedly won the race for his signature, and Osimhen will be donning the shirts of Gli Azzuri next season.

However, should the reports be true, Osimhen will be moving to a league where Nigerian strikers have struggled in the past.

The Italian Serie A has not been a happy hunting ground for Super Eagles strikers, and Soccernet.ng takes a look at how some of Nigeria’s hotshots have fared in the league ahead of Osimhen’s potential move.

Stephen Ayodele Makinwa

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The retired Nigerian footballer turned football agent played for six different clubs in the Italian top-flight with over 100 appearances.

Makinwa started his Serie A career with Reggiana before further stints with Chievo, Modena, Atalanta, Palermo and Lazio.

But despite 120 appearances across these clubs, the Lagos-born centre-forward scored a paltry 16 goals. His Serie A journey ended in 2010 when he joined Greek club AEL Larrisa.

Nnamdi Oduamadi

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 Nigerians will remember him for scoring a hat-trick in the win over Tahiti at the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil.

Oduamadi was signed by Italian giants, AC Milan in 2008, and stayed for two seasons at the club’s youth team.

After two years, he finally made his Serie A debut for the Rossoneri- a 1-1 draw against Catania. However, that was his only appearance in Italy’s top division as he was loaned out to different clubs in the lower division.

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He left Italy to sign for KF Tirana in 2018, but he was released a year later, and he’s currently without a club.

Umar Sadiq

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A member of the Dream team that won the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics, Sadiq his career in Italy with Spezia in 2013.

But two years later he was snapped up by AS Roma and made his Serie A debut that season. He made six Serie A appearances in total for I Giallorossi before he was sent out on loan to Bologna and Torino where he featured seven times and three times respectively.

In total he made just 16 appearances in Italy’s top division, scoring only two goals. Although he had a loan spell with Rangers, Sadiq is now with Partizan Belgrade, and he’s having the best season of his career.

The 23-year-old has scored 17 times and provided 16 assists for the Serbian side, and has even been linked with a move to Lille as a replacement for Osimhen. 

Odion Ighalo

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Before his fame at Manchester United and his productive spell at Watford, Odion Ighalo played in the Serie A, albeit for a short time.

The 31-year-old signed for Udinese after leaving Lyn Oslo in 2008. Ighalo stayed with I Bianconeri for one season before he was sent out on loan to Spanish side Granada.

At the end of his loan, he returned to Udinese only to go out on loan- this time at Cesena.  He was on loan for most of his career at Italy before he was signed permanently by Watford.

During his time in the Serie A, Ighalo made eight appearances for both Udinese and Cesena, scoring just a goal.

Nwankwo Kanu

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After spending three successful years with Ajax, Inter Milan signed Kanu Nwankwo in 1996. However, the former Super Eagles captain did not get to play for the Nerazzurri until 1997 as he had to undergo surgery to correct a defect in his heart.

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On his return, Kanu made just 20 appearances for Inter with just 12 coming in the Serie A. He left the club in 1999 to sign for Arsenal.

Simeon Nwankwo

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A member of the Super Eagles squad that went to the 2018 World Cup, Simeon Nwankwo currently plays for Crotone in Serie B.

But before their relegation, Crotone played top-flight football in the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 season. Nwankwo played a major role in I Pitagorici’s campaign.

The 28-year-old scored three goals in his first Serie A season, before adding another seven the following year.

Overall he’s scored ten goals in 44 games in the Italian top-flight. He’ll have the chance to add to his tally should Crotone’s promotion push be successful.

Obinna Nsofor

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Nsofor started his adventure in Italy with Chievo Verona having joined from Enyimba football club in 2005.

He made a total of 96 appearances for I Pitagorici with 60 coming in the Serie A, scoring 12 goals. After three years at the club, Nsofor joined Inter Milan in 2008.

Although he won the league title with Inter, Nsofor’s time at the club was less productive as he scored once in nine Serie A appearances.

Obafemi Martins

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Famously called ‘Weapon of mass destruction’, Obafemi Martins is undoubtedly Nigeria’s greatest player in the Italian Serie A.

Known for his speed and deadly left foot, Martins was one of the best marksmen in Italy during his time in Italy.

The 35-year-old scored 28 goals and provided ten assists in 88 league appearances for the Nerazzurri. In total, Martins scored 49 times in 136 games for Inter.

He also formed a deadly partnership with former Brazilian striker, Adriano. Martins won one Serie A title and two Coppa Italia with Inter before leaving for Newcastle in 2006.