Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta nearly had his questions answered regarding the long-term center forward solution at the Emirates last summer, with the Gunners not far off from a move for Victor Osimhen.
According to Football.London, the highly rated 22-year-old Nigerian international – who at the time was plying his trade in northeastern France with LOSC lille – was very much on the Gunners radar before his eventual move to SSC Napoli.
This was confirmed by journalist Paolo Bargiggia, who spoke with 1 Station Radio;
“…You must know that Osimhen was followed by Arsenal: he was very close to the Gunners, but Cristiano Giuntoli [Napoli sporting director] spoke with Aurelio De Laurentiis [owner & chairman] and the president broke the delay: so Napoli decided and managed to buy him.”
With Osimhen completing his move to the then Stadio San Paolo (now known as the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona) for a cool £60million, it would have been the second time in back-to-back seasons that Arsenal would have bankrolled Les Dogues after stumping up £72million for Nicolas Pépé the prior summer.
Comparing data between different players that exist and operate in different systems can never paint the full picture, but the raw comparisons between Osimhen and current main Arsenal strikers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette paints an intriguing picture.
There is no question that the Gunners struggled in a big way for much of the 2020-21 season, especially before the turn of the year. Neither Aubameyang nor Lacazatte had a stellar season, but the numbers show that Osimhen would not have been any better…in theory.
Though he logged considerably fewer minutes than then Arsenal pair, his overall goal total (10) was level with Auba and just three off Lacazette. However, that goal total came from more shots and as a consequence, Osimhen’s conversion % was far below the two Arsenal strikers. He also boasted a worse shot accuracy % and the lowest take-on success rate %, though he was the most effective in the air between the trio.
You decide – should Arsenal have pulled the trigger on a move for Victor Osimhen?
This article was edited by Ben Browning.