SUPER Eagles striker Victor Osimhen has revealed that he turned down the opportunity of playing for English Premier League side Arsenal in 2015 despite their then manager Arsene Wenger being very keen to sign him.
Osimhen, 23, is currently in Abuja with the rest of the Super Eagles squad, preparing for tomorrow’s World Cup qualifier against Ghana. Regarded as Nigeria’s star player, Osimhen is currently in fine form since signing for Serie A side Napoli for €81m last season and is regarded as one of Europe’s best strikers.
Arsenal, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Inter Milan were all in pursuit of Osimhen’s services after the Under-17 World Cup in 2015. Nigeria won with tournament with Osimhen winning the Golden Boot for the highest number of goals scored and Silver Ball award, being rated as the second best player on the tournament.
Osimhen said: “I had a lot of options, including Barcelona, Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid, Juventus and the rest. Arsenal was a good option but it wasn’t the best at the time as I wanted to start playing as soon as I turned 18.
“I spoke with Arsene Wenger after the tournament ended and he wanted me to come to Arsenal. I wanted to go to a place where I had time to invest in my game and improve physically. Wolfsburg showed me that possibility.”
At the moment, Newcastle United are keen on signing Osimhen, with Steve Nickson, the head of recruitment at the club, keeping a close eye on the striker. Osimhen has scored 25 times in 55 appearances for Napoli but has also not hidden his desire to play in England one day.
Newcastle would not be able to boast the European football the likes of Arsenal, Spurs and Manchester United could offer at the end of the season. Money of course would not be a problem, but the game time offered by the Magpies could be significant factor in a potential Tyneside switch.
Eddie Howe’s Newcastle are in the market for striker capable of lifting them to the next level, while the Gunners are looking to replace Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. As a result, both teams are keen on signing Osimhen at the end of the season.
Osimhen said: “Of course, one day I’d like to play for a big club in England. My priority is to play a lot of games, so signing for a big club and being on the bench is not exciting for me.”