Victor Osimhen, born in Lagos, Nigeria has been making waves in European football.

Victor Osimhen - Nigeria

(Photo: Liondartois, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Aged just 21, Osimhen is expected to become a superstar in a few years to come. He broke onto the scene with an incredible performance in the 2015 Under-17 FIFA World Cup as he won the Golden Boot with 10 goals in the tournament to lead Nigeria to their 5th U-17 World Cup title including a goal each in the semi-final and final.


This was just the beginning of a wonderful story for Nigeria’s best youngster. VfL Wolfsburg signed him up with a pre-commitment to bring him to Germany and on 5 January 2017, Osimhen signed a 3.5-year contract with the club until June 2020. Osimhen did not have a pleasant start to his football career in Europe as he failed to score in all of the 16 games he featured in for Wolfsburg and also suffered a shoulder injury that kept him out for most of the season as he had to undergo surgery for the same.


Things started to turn around for the Nigerian starlet the next year as he was sent out on a season-long loan to Charleroi, a Belgian First Division side, where he became a regular starter and cemented his spot in the first eleven. Osimhen bagged 20 goals in 36 matches as Charleroi ended up finishing 9th in the Belgian Pro League. His performance earned high praise and the youngster started getting noticed all around Europe.

Victor Osimhen signed for the French giants, Lille in July 2019 on a five-year contract as they needed a goal-scoring replacement for Nicolas Pepe, who had joined Arsenal at the time. The Nigerian found the net 18 times in his debut season in France and ended the Ligue 1 season as Lille’s top scorer with 13 goals in 25 games. He also scored a memorable goal against Frank Lampard’s Chelsea in Lille’s 2-1 loss in the UEFA Champions League. His performances earned him Lille’s Player of the Year award.


After helping Lille make the Champions League playoffs, Osimhen recently completed his move to one of Italy’s biggest clubs, Napoli. After playing in the first division in 3 different European leagues, it seems like moving to the Serie A will not phase Victor Osimhen. Napoli signed the Nigerian centre-forward for a club-record fee of around €71 million-plus another €10 million in bonuses. Along with his wages, the transfer works out to over €100 million! This makes Osimhen not only the most expensive Nigerian football transfer (overtaking Pepe’s move to Arsenal) but also Africa’s most expensive footballer.


CR7 - Cristiano Ronaldo

Victor Osimhen will potentially challenge Cristiano Ronaldo (above) for the Serie A’s Golden Boot (Photo: Anton Zaitsev, CC BY-SA 4.0)

One would imagine that the price tag could be a burden on a player’s shoulders but Victor Osimhen has hit the ground running already as he has bagged two hattricks in Napoli’s pre-season. He came off the bench to make his first appearance against Parma to have an immediate impact as his small touch off Hirving Lozano’s cross fell to the Belgian striker, Dries Mertens who found the back of the net. He also grabbed an assist in both, his first official appearance for the club coming off the bench as well as his first start for Napoli as they made easy work of Genoa, winning 6-0. 

Napoli winger Matteo Politano has urged the club’s fans to be patient with the Osimhen as his best is yet to come. These are not only exciting times for Nigerian football fans but also Africans. Can the young Nigerian help Napoli challenge for the Serie A as he goes up against the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus and Romelu Lukaku’s Inter Milan? It is going to be an exciting season at the helm of Italy’s premier league and one can be sure that everyone’s eyes will be on one of Africa’s most talented football youngsters.