Man Utd and Chelsea-linked Osimhen not for sale, says Napoli president

By Sports Desk February 08, 2023

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis insists the Scudetto frontrunners do not have to sell rumoured Manchester United and Chelsea target Victor Osimhen.

Nigeria international Osimhen is reportedly a target for the Premier League pair, as well as other big names across Europe, after starring for Serie A leaders Napoli this season.

The 24-year-old has 17 goals this campaign – the joint-sixth most of any player across Europe's top five leagues – and has assisted a further three goals in his 21 appearances.

While interest in Osimhen will only intensify between now and the transfer window reopening in advance of next season, De Laurentiis has made it clear Napoli are not looking to cash in.

"Victor is not for sale," he told German outlet Bild. "Our players are in high demand, but we are not forced to sell anybody. We don't have any debts."

Osimhen scored another brace in Sunday's 3-0 win over Spezia as Napoli opened up a 13-point lead over closest challengers Inter at the top of Serie A.

He now has 53 goals in 95 league games across his past four seasons for Lille and Napoli – only Erling Haaland (87 in 87) has needed fewer games to reach the 50-goal mark.

Napoli will hope their in-form striker can make the difference when they face Eintracht Frankfurt in the last 16 of the Champions League, with the first leg taking place in two weeks' time.

Eintracht are competing in the knockout stage of the competition for the first time, but De Laurentiis says Napoli will not be taking the Bundesliga title challengers lightly.

"In the beginning, the feeling was of a non-difficult draw, but it's not exactly like this," he said of Eintracht, who beat Barcelona in the Europa League quarter-finals last season.

"It's not a coincidence they are in the race for the Bundesliga. We should not think we are a better team. Barca did it last season and we should not make the same mistake."

Napoli have won their past two away games against German sides in European competition, beating Wolfsburg 4-1 in April 2015 and RB Leipzig 2-0 in February 2018.

Related items

  • 5 Women’s Super League players to look out for this season 5 Women’s Super League players to look out for this season

    A busy summer transfer window saw one of the biggest names in the Women’s Super League switch sides, while a Japanese World Cup standout is set to play English top-flight football for the first time.

    Here, the PA news agency picks five players to look out for in the WSL as the new campaign gets under way.

    Alessia Russo (Arsenal)

    Arsenal tried and failed – with a rumoured world-record bid – to reach an agreement with Manchester United to sign England forward Russo during the January transfer window, but the Gunners finally landed their coveted target on a free transfer in July.

    Russo hit 10 goals in the WSL last season as United finished runners-up to champions Chelsea and was boss Sarina Wiegman’s first-choice centre forward for the World Cup, where she netted three times for the runners-up.

    With Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema also set for imminent returns from their respective anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, head coach Jonas Eidevall will boast an intimidating wealth of options in attack.

    Hinata Miyazawa (Manchester United)

    While Brazil international Geyse, a Champions League winner last season with Barcelona, will likely be seen as the most direct replacement for Russo, boss Marc Skinner will also be buoyed by the arrival of Japan international Miyazawa from WE League side MyNavi Sendai.

    Versatile Miyazawa’s five goals in four games at the World Cup were good enough to secure her the tournament’s Golden Boot, and her breakthrough performance also landed the 23-year-old nominations for both the Ballon d’Or and FIFA Best Women’s Player of 2023.

    With United playing more matches this season after securing a Champions League berth for the first time, Miyazawa adds pivotal depth to Skinner’s squad.

    Mary Fowler (Manchester City)

    While Fowler is not a new face at Manchester City, where she signed a four-year deal last June, the forward may find herself under a much brighter spotlight this season after helping Australia reach a first-ever semi-final in a Women’s World Cup.

    Fowler was instrumental in ensuring the Matildas secured safe passage out of the group stage even without prolific striker and skipper Sam Kerr, who returned for the knockouts following a calf injury.

    The 20-year-old netted in Australia’s 4-0 group stage victory over Canada, teed up Caitlin Foord with a brilliant through ball in her side’s last-16 victory over Denmark and scored a perfect penalty against France in a nervy quarter-final shootout – the longest in Women’s World Cup history – to solidify her status as one to watch.

    Catarina Macario (Chelsea)

    Macario became one of the many victims of the ACL injury crisis plaguing women’s football whilst playing for Lyon in June 2022 and has yet to return to action – but that did not stop WSL title-holders Chelsea from signing the 23-year-old to a three-year deal in July.

    Though still in the early stages of her career, the American forward, who joins the Blues after two seasons with Lyon, has already accomplished something her decorated new boss Emma Hayes has not: winning a Champions League trophy.

    Macario, who can play as a central striker or an attacking midfielder, scored 23 goals in 33 games for Lyon in 2021/22 and could prove a key component of Hayes’ European plans once deemed fit to return.

    Daphne van Domselaar (Aston Villa)

    Aston Villa boss Carla Ward was in search of a new goalkeeper after former first choice Hannah Hampton, whose contract had expired, also joined Hayes’ ranks over the summer.

    Villa, who finished fifth last season, have signalled their intent to take on the league’s top sides with a busy transfer window and were delighted after beating big European challengers to secure the services of Netherlands goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar from FC Twente for the next three years.

    The three-time Eredivisie Vrouwen winner, who joins Villa from FC Twente, was also the Netherlands’ first-choice shot-stopper at the World Cup.

  • Vincent Kompany excited about Wilson Odobert’s potential after impressive debut Vincent Kompany excited about Wilson Odobert’s potential after impressive debut

    Vincent Kompany is excited about Wilson Odobert’s potential after watching the teenager score on his full debut for Burnley in a 4-0 Carabao Cup win over League Two Salford.

    The 18-year-old had already tested home goalkeeper Alex Cairns on a couple of occasions before crowning a comfortable win for Burnley with his 81st-minute strike, collecting a cross from the impressive Anass Zaroury and cutting back inside before firing home.

    It was only Odobert’s second appearance in a Burnley shirt following his summer move from Troyes and while Kompany will not rush the young Frenchman, the manager wants him to be making a regular contribution soon as the Clarets look to turn around their Premier League form.

    “We talk about the team settling and stuff and as I’ve told you, some of the guys who will be the heroes for us this season, you don’t see them but I see them in training and we have to be prepared for them to come into the team,” Kompany said.

    “Guys like Wilson are these type of guys. You can see the talent. It’s a matter of time. Is it tomorrow? Is it in a week or a month’s time? We don’t know. We’ll go with them.

    “Just like Luca Koleosho, we’ve some exciting players and hopefully they’ll be able to show it very soon for us. We’ll need it.”

    Kompany made 11 changes from the side that lost 1-0 to Manchester United on Saturday as he continues to marshal a 34-strong squad and figure out his best combinations.

    But even with so many changes, it still felt like a strong selection. Vitinho returned from injury, Odobert made his first start and Jack Cork got only his second run out of the campaign, starting in defence, but most of those involved have already featured regularly this term.

    After bringing in 13 new faces this summer, Burnley still need time to gel, as has been reflected by their winless start to the Premier League season. A cup win over a side struggling near the bottom of League Two is only a small step forward, but progress all the same.

    “We’ve got a lot of players still gelling together and I don’t think players would have played together as a team,” Kompany said. “Seeing a collective performance is more important than just seeing the individuals for me.”

    He added of that gelling process: “It’s not something that’s abnormal. We knew it was part of something that was going to happen and we had it last year. In that sense, it’s not different.

    “The level of opposition of course is different but you work hard on the training ground and after every game to make sure the team gets to the level it needs to be at as quickly as possible. You also enjoy that side of it. That’s why we’re coaches…

    “It’s still early days for a lot of these guys but in the end, if the collective is robust then you can make adaptations. We prioritised game time – Corky played at centre back as if he had played there for the last 10 years.

    “But when you look after the ball and when you have strikers and wingers who can be dangerous, it always gives you a chance to spread the load across the team.”

  • Demi Stokes insists Manchester City well placed to challenge for WSL title Demi Stokes insists Manchester City well placed to challenge for WSL title

    Demi Stokes believes Manchester City can rise to the challenge as the competition in the Women’s Super League gets ever tougher.

    City were forced to settle for a disappointing fourth place last season, finishing outside the Champions League berths for the first time since 2014.

    After winning the title in 2016 and then finishing runners-up in four successive seasons, City have been muscled out of the top positions in recent years.

    Chelsea have been the dominant force, having won the past four WSL crowns, but first Arsenal and now Manchester United have got their noses in front of City.

    Yet far from being frustrated, City defender Stokes has welcomed the increased competition as a sign of the growing strength of the women’s game and is convinced her side can match them.

    “I think if you look at last year, we had some very good performances,” the 31-year-old left-back told the PA news agency.

    “We were obviously disappointed with how we finished but I think if you look at the team and the depth that we’ve got, we’ve got everything that we need to win and it’s just about being consistent.

    “Obviously the league is getting harder and harder but that’s what we want. Other teams are improving, but we’re improving. It is going to be tight.

    “You know that you have to be consistent every week and every game is hard. It’s not just a handful that are going to be hard – each game is hard.

    “Everyone can take points off everyone. If you don’t turn up on the day, you’ll get punished for it.

    “But we know what we need to do. We’ve had our conversations and we’re just looking forward to the season starting.”

    Stokes, a member of England’s successful Euro 2022 squad, was overlooked for this summer’s World Cup campaign.

    She enjoyed watching the Lionesses run to the final as a fan but has not given up hope of forcing her way back into the international picture.

    “I had a good summer and I enjoyed watching it,” said Stokes, who signed a new one-year contract at City in June. “The girls did really well and they should be proud.

    “For me, I got my holidays in and it’s almost been like having a reset button and going again.

    “I’ve just got to concentrate on City now and then see where that goes. Play minutes – injury free – and we’ll go from there.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.