Transfer Turmoil at Napoli Amid Osimhen and Di Lorenzo’s Unsettled Status

Victor Osimhen’s summer departure was supposed to hand new Napoli coach Antonio Conte a substantial financial boost. While the Nigerian is ready to pack his bags for a new adventure, interest in his skills has dwindled on the back of a catastrophic 2023/24 season.

Today’s edition of Gazzetta dello Sport took stock of Osimhen’s future, which until not long ago seemed far away from Napoli. After winning the Capocannoniere award in 2022/23 en route to the Partenopei’s first Serie A title in 33 years, his valuation skyrocketed. His services were in high demand.

However, his form fell off a cliff in the season just gone. Napoli failed to defend the title and missed out on European qualification. Osimhen’s form woes and several injury setbacks significantly influenced the southern giants’ downfall. As a result, he’s no longer a sought-after prospect.

Osimhen hoped to link up with Paris Saint-Germain after Kylian Mbappe’s exit. Instead, the perennial Ligue 1 champions have earmarked his Napoli teammate Khvicha Kvaratskhelia as a better-suited acquisition. But PSG’s effort fell on Aurelio De Laurentiis’ deaf ears.

Napoli have deemed the Georgian winger untouchable. Meanwhile, they’re open to letting Osimhen go for the right price. But his valuation is monstrous and affordable to only a handful of European clubs. Another hypothesis would be a switch to Saudi Arabia.

That’s not an option for Osimhen, who’s eager to ply his trade at the highest level. And it leaves his future in limbo. Napoli will consider offers in excess of €120 million. That’s a release clause they inserted in his new contract last Christmas.

Previously linked with a move to the Premier League, Osimhen is no longer a target for Arsenal and Chelsea. Both clubs could’ve afforded his staggering market value, yet they’re seemingly out of the picture after the 25-year-old’s decline deterred them from approaching Napoli.

Stuck in his gilded cage, Osimhen can find some comfort in his whopping €10m-a-year wages. But a fierce competitor as he is, the ex-Lille striker wants to be a protagonist, a role that could slip through his fingers at Napoli after falling out of favor with club supporters and the hierarchy.

Napoli must find a solution soon. Knowing De Laurentiis, they’ll unlikely waver on their demands. But from a footballing aspect, that could be a mistake. Conte needs a solid foundation to mastermind the Partenopei’s revival and can ill-afford to have unhappy players in the squad.

Speaking of unsettled stars, Giovanni Di Lorenzo is another first-team star desperate to flee the Diego Maradona Stadium this summer. His agent has recently reiterated the right-back’s overwhelming desire to find a new challenge, putting Napoli under pressure ahead of the transfer window.

Inter and Juventus have displayed interest in the Napoli captain. De Laurentiis is reluctant to sell to his bitter rivals, but the player’s will could force his hand. Like Osimhen, Di Lorenzo was the second-best version of himself last term, and the club may not hesitate to cut him loose.

While Napoli can sanction their sales without losing much sleep, finding proper replacements could be challenging.

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