From The Scouting App: Analysis of Nigerian Talent Victor Osimhen

With Didier Drogba as his footballing idol, upcoming African football star Victor Osimhen started out his career in Lagos, Nigeria with Ultimate Strikers Academy – where his good performances were rewarded by national level scouts with a call-up to the Nigeria U17 team for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup. As Nigeria won the U17 World Cup for record fifth time, he top-scored the tournament with 10 goals in 7 games.

Wolfsburg were quick to snap him up in January 2017, opening up a line of cooperation for player development with his home academy. His signing was met with growing skepticism from the Bundesliga club’s fanbase and rightly so, as he failed to deliver regularly due to lack of game time. This prompted Die Wolfe & him to part ways and continue on a loan spell at Belgian side RSC Charleroi where he knocked in 20 goals in 36 appearances – that is effectively when the youngster’s career took a huge stride.

Christophe Galtier’s Lille offered the 20-year-old a five-year contract in the north of France. He repaid Les Dogues with 18 goals in his first and only season at Stade Pierre-Mauroy, in 38 appearances – the most goals and caps by any player in the 2019/20 season for the club.

Victor Osimhen has played 11 matches (plus 8 as a sub) and he scored 7 goals.

Scouts from Napoli eyed Osimhen when he was at Wolfsburg, but since he evidently did not perform up to his standards, he was put away from any sort of transfer plans. Lille provided a stepping stone for the Nigerian as Napoli once again made their interest known. And this time they signed him – for a club-record €70 million, potentially rising to €80 million with add-ons.

So far in the 2020/21 Serie A season, Osimhen has not lived up to his talented standards – scoring only 7 goals so far in 19 caps. Nevertheless, the dynamic forward is not the one to be taken for granted.

Osimhen’s prowess is mainly shown when he is allowed the freedom to make a difference around and inside the 18-yard-box. The center-forward is a real danger inside the penalty area – effectively threatening oppositions with his on-the-ball movement and intelligence in exploiting goalscoring spaces. Although his positional awareness on the move when in possession can be improved, his sense of positioning inside the penalty box is immaculate, as he consistently gets into positions where he can score goals. Osimhen can function either as a lone striker in a 4-4-1-1/4-5-1 or in a 4-4-2 formation when he is partnered with/as a second striker.

Not an easy player to mark. Standing tall at 6”1’ at only 22 years of age, he tends to shrug off challenges with ease. And of course, he tends to be an aerial threat as well with his heading ability that allows him to win long balls from the defense. His physique allows him when in possession to play effectively with holdup and shielding play, retaining balls, and spraying passes across the field to fellow players.

He also actively takes part in defensive contributions and helps with deep pressing when upfront and out of possession. Perhaps, the young Nigerian’s strongest abilities lie in his team play & finishing skills, which he tends to unleash with immense power or creative finesse – whichever necessary at the moment. As a No.9, he offers speed and acceleration in the final third, making decisive runs to go past offside traps and punishing teams utilizing a high defensive line.

Osimhen is just 22, which means he has a lot of time to develop into a world-class striker. He can develop heaps and bounds with the Partenopei in the south of Italy, as Serie A is one of the most defensively astute leagues in Europe. With the skills and talent he possesses at hand, he has every tool necessary to become one of Europe’s top hitmen.