Victor Osimhen returned to training for Napoli on Thursday after missing two weeks of action following the injury he suffered on international duty with the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the March international break.
He was slated to miss at least three weeks but like his facial injury – for which he still wears a mask – he recovered really early and was back in full training ahead of their Serie A outing against Hellas Verona.
Spaletti would give him 20 minutes of action in that game as he sought to get some game time into the 24-year-old's legs ahead of their UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg against AC Milan at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in midweek.
The 20 minutes which Osimhen played showed the club's fans what they missed in those tough two weeks, which saw them struggle in front of goal. His runs would cause big problems for the visiting side and he would hit the woodwork late in the game to almost give his side all three points.
Fans will be hoping that he will be able to finally break his Milan duck in the Champions League, as they look to complete a fairytale season by getting to the semi-finals of Europe's premier cup competition.
His return also means other things for Luciano Spaletti and the team, who have greatly benefited from his 25 goals in 29 appearances across all competitions.
It means that the Italian manager will have to start taking the prospect of playing without the Nigerian as seriously as he does the opportunity to create match-winning tactics with him in mind.
Spaletti's side have struggled every time that Osimhen has been unavailable. Milan handed them their biggest loss of the season in the Serie A just before getting an aggregate lead in the Champions League. In both games, the team were unable to muster much attacking threat thanks to Osimhen's absence.
To be fair, they did take 15 shots against Milan in their Champions League loss. None translated to a goal, however, showing that without Osimhen, they cannot muster many shots on target. Osimhen may end up in another club come summer as the interest in him keeps rising all across Europe. Should this happen, Napoli will be left to figure out a way to remain on top without Osimhen. At the moment, it does not look like they can.
Osimhen's return could also be counterproductive for the striker as well as the team. He was initially expected to miss at least three weeks and at some point, was ruled out of the season. However, he missed only two weeks and came back guns blazing, like a man who was playing his last football match in his career.
The hunger is great to see but it is reminiscent of how Manchester United treated Marcus Rashford in 2020/21. The Englishman was rushed back from injury using
The former Bodø/Glimt man looks likely to leave the club in the summer as his performances continue to catch the eye of interested clubs. Baatzsch then stated that any clubs who are interested in their ace will have to come with a deal of around €10 million to the negotiating table.
Degryse likened the former Bodø/Glimt man to Arsenal legend Thierry Henry after his performance against Leverkusen in the Europa League. “He has been here since the summer and is one step further than Orban,” Degryse told Het Laatste Nieuws, via Voetbal Nieuws.
This article was most recently revised and updated 11 months ago