'2 seasons in Arabia worth more than 10 in Europe' - Peseiro admits Osimhen considered leaving NapoliPublished: September 20, 2023
Nigeria manager Jose Peseiro has admitted that Victor Osimhen considered leaving Napoli for the Saudi Arabia Pro League in the recently concluded transfer window but eventually decided to stay at The Parthenopeans.
Osimhen enjoyed the most successful season of his career in 2022-2023, blasting Napoli to a first Serie A title in 33 years, and his 26-goal tally represented the highest single-season total by any African player in the history of the Italian top flight.
After a banner season, it was not surprising to see the Super Eagles star linked with the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Bayern Munich Paris Saint-Germain but the European giants were all priced out of a move, with Napoli valuing their number 9 in the region of 150 million euros.
Al Hilal turned their attention to Osimhen after failing to sign Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe, but Napoli rejected a mega offer from the Saudi Arabian moneybags.
If the deal had gone through, the 2015 Fifa U17 World Cup top scorer would have been earning approximately one million pounds per week at Al Hilal.
Peserio noted that two years in Saudi Arabia would have made Osimhen richer but the attacker would not play at a high level as he can do at Napoli.
"Osimhen initially thought about leaving, but then he decided to stay and do his best in Naples. And I'm happy to see him still competing for big goals in Europe," Peseiro said to La Gazzetta dello Sport, via ilmionapoli.it.
"I feared he might arrive sad (for the AFCONQ) but instead I found him unleashed: he worked and showed beautiful things. He played fantastic matches, scoring 3 goals.
"He ended the qualifiers with 10 goals, best scorer. Now let's hope he helps us win the Africa Cup of Nations. He was the usual Victor, happy and smiling: it's a benefit for everyone."
On Osimhen's decision to stay at Napoli, Peseiro said: "But Victor is very happy in Naples. For his growth path, staying in Europe and showing off in the Champions League remains the best path.
"He is young and has time to demonstrate his talent. Then I understand that when faced with certain offers one can falter: two seasons in Arabia are worth more than ten in Europe, but money isn't everything. Victor improved a lot in Italy ."
Osimhen is nailed-on favorite to win the 2023 African Footballer of the Year given that he has been nominated for the Ballon d'Or and he's the only African player in the running for the The Best FIFA Men's Player.
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