“We did not push to sign Haaland because of Osimhen”

Napoli Sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli has revealed that the club had the chance to sign Erling Haaland from RB Salzburg in 2020, but they decided to sign Super Eagles striker Victor Osimhen instead.

Haaland became prominent in Europe after he scored nine goals in a match against Honduras at the 2019 Under-20 World Cup. The Norwegian followed that performance up with incredible success with Salzburg, netting 29 goals in 27 games. At the time, he became a target for several top clubs in Europe.

Those on the list include Manchester United, Napoli, Bayern Munich, and Borussia Dortmund during the time and he eventually settled for a €20million-move to Borussia Dortmund.

Napoli Sporting director Giuntoli has now revealed that things could have been slightly different for the Norwegian hitman.

He admits that the Partenopeans were ready to meet Salzburg’s €25million-valuation but they opted against it because they believed Osimhen was a better alternative for them at the time.

“The contract was done with Salzburg, paying the €25M release clause for Haaland but he preferred BVB and we were looking at him or Osimhen who we put on the same level,” Giuntoli told Corsport as per Italian Football TV.

Napoli signed Osimhen from Lille two years ago for a club-record €75million. The decision has since paid off, as despite struggling in his first season, the Super Eagles striker has become a talisman at the club.

Osimhen has scored 38 goals in 76 games for the Partenopeans, and he is on course to leading the team to a first title triumph in over 20 years.

Osimhen set to miss Portugal friendly

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has confirmed that striker Victor Osimhen has been replaced by Cyriel Dessers ahead of the Super Eagles friendly with Portugal in Lisbon.

The Napoli hitman has missed Nigeria’s past friendly games in Algeria and is on course to miss yet another high-profile friendly due to injury.

However, a close source of the player claims that the player needed to spend time with his newborn baby and girlfriend, hence the decision to miss the game against the Portuguese on Thursday.

This article was most recently revised and updated 7 months ago

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