After the announcement of his departure by the end of the season, the city of Naples was left to wonder who would fill the major void left by the diminutive Lorenzo Insigne. After all, he’s not only one of the best Serie A players in his position, but we’re also talking about a homegrown player who rose through the ranks to become club captain. But thankfully for Napoli, the solution might just be right in front of their eyes, and his name is Victor James Osimhen.
The Nigerian arrived to the southern city in the summer of 2020 for a hefty (and definitely dubious) price-tag of 75 million euros. But the Neapolitans didn’t bother themselves with all the debate that surrounded his transfer from Lille, they simply welcomed their new striker with open arms.
And as we all know, when the folks at Napoli decide to shower you with love, then you’re in for something truly unique. Just ask any Amsterdam resident who found the Cult of Calcio’s co-founder Diego Ottaviano singing Osimhen’s song on the streets long before the player kicked a football at the San Paolo Stadium.
So what’s the secret of that passionate and almost unconditional love towards the Lagos native?
Well, perhaps the man’s background played a significant role when it comes to appeasing to his Italian supporters. After all, this is a city that has always portrayed itself as the home of the underdogs. A southern fortress that is willing to defend it’s people’s pride against the riches of northern invaders.
Therefore, we can understand how a young player who was born and raised in an African slum is able to embody the spirit of the Partenopei. After all, we’re talking about an entire city that still worships a poor kid from Argentina.
Following his arrival to Napoli, Osimhen immediately replaced Arkadiusz Milik – a solid striker who scored many goals when fit, but one that never truly won the hearts of the Azzurri supporters.
The Polish player eventually left due to a contract dispute with volatile club president Aurelio De Laurentiis. But aside from that, he always behaved well during his time in Italy. Perhaps his serious looks and all too-professional stance were too much for the Napoli fans’ liking. For them, this is how a soulless Juventus player would look like.
On the contrary, Osimhen comes with a colorful character that perfectly fits the fabulous chaos of the Campania capital. The young player even had his fair share of controversy. He might not be the fastest of players, nor the most clinical of strikers, but one thing is for sure, he’s a warrior who leaves it all on the pitch an is even willing to stir the pot when necessary, which is always an appreciated virtue on that side of the country.
This season, Osimhen has been the one leading an unlikely Napoli charge towards the Scudetto title. Not even a broken face (courtesy of Milan Skriniar) could halt the Nigerian storm for too long.
When Insigne makes the long trip to Toronto in July, Kalidou Koulibaly will probably become the new captain (unless he decides to leave himself), while a new left winger could arrive to replace the Euro 2020 winner on the pitch.
However, Osimhen will be the one to inherit Insigne’s throne as the inspiring and charismatic talisman of the team.
In fact, the African star didn’t even wait for the captain’s departure to inherit the crown, but instead, he decided to usurp him while he’s still present within his kingdom.
Insigne’s Napoli is dead. Long live Osimhen’s Napoli.