Victor Osimhen has grown to be a key player at Napoli and the club will struggle to replace the Nigerian in any capacity, claims ex-Italy international Fabio Bazzani.
The reigning Serie A have failed to replicate their dominance from last season, already falling off the pace in the early stages of the campaign.
After 10 games, Rudi Garcia's men are already seven points behind league leaders Inter Milan, having already lost 2 (half of what they did in the whole of last season).
A big part of Napoli's struggles have come off the pitch and the biggest indication to that is the unsettledness of star forward Victor Osimhen.
The Super Eagles star is rumored to be discontent with life at the club, with his situation compounded by a racist video posted by Napoli's official TikTok account back in September.
There is now talk that Osimhen, who claimed a record finish for a Nigerian in the Ballon d'Or 23 rankings, could be set for an exit from the club.
Although all indications hint that any transfer movement will wait until next summer at the very earliest – especially after the 24-year-old recently claimed he was happy at the club.
However, with the Nigerian currently on the sidelines due to a hamstring injury picked up on international duty, Napoli seem to have been handed a rehearsal of life without their star forward.
‘Osimhen will be hard to replace under any circumstance'
While Napoli still boast enough firepower in attack due to the presence of Giacomo Raspadori, Matteo Politano and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, it is evident that the absence of Osimhen has affected their play upfront.
The reigning champions had to show some fight to battle from two goals down against AC Milan last time out to claim a point.
Ahead of their next Serie A outing against Salernitana at the weekend, ex-Italy and Sampdoria star Bazzani shared his opinion on Napoli's current struggles and whether they have enough quality to play without Osimhen.
Speaking to Football Club on 1 Station Radio, he said: “It won't just weigh on Saturday. Victor's absence weighs heavily in general.
“A very strong player, difficult to replace. Napoli, however, has shown that they can win even without Osimhen. The team's offensive potential is important, the match against Milan also confirmed this.”
Bazzani further claimed that the pairing of Raspadori and Giovanni Simeone as an attacking duo upfront could work out well for Napoli.
He added: “I believe that the match against Milan gave an important indication. Being able to partner Raspadori with a striker is an important weapon.
“This way Jack can continue to tie up the play while remaining in a position where he can always be dangerous. It will be a very important match in Salerno. Napoli were overtaken by Atalanta and will have to look to success by focusing on the offensive department.”
When will Osimhen be back for Napoli and Super Eagles?
As at the time of writing, there is no exact timeline on when Osimhen will return from injury.
However, the timeframe for his return has been put around three to four weeks from now, which will see him miss a number of games for Napoli as well as the upcoming World Cup qualifiers for the Super Eagles against Lesotho and Zimbabwe in November.
Despite battling with injury issues this term, Osimhen already has six goals to his name from ten total appearances across all competitions.
This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago