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Other SportsOsimhen drops Manchester United hint after rejecting life-changing Saudi offer

Osimhen drops Manchester United hint after rejecting life-changing Saudi offer

Victor Osimhen refused to rule out a potential transfer to Manchester United as he opened up on his decision to reject a ‘crazy’ offer from Saudi Pro League outfit Al Hilal.

Osimhen has been strongly linked with a move to one of Europe’s elite clubs after firing Napoli to their first Serie A title in the post-Diego Maradona era last season.

The Nigeria international scored 31 goals and added four assists in 39 appearances across all competitions last term, as Luciano Spalletti’s Partenopei ran away with the Scudetto and reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

While Osimhen was linked with United, Chelsea and other European giants ahead of 2023-24, it was Al Hilal who made the most concrete attempt to sign him in a transfer window which saw them acquire the likes of Neymar, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Kalidou Koulibaly and Ruben Neves.

Though Osimhen admits the financial rewards offered by the 18-time Saudi champions were hard to turn down, the striker was always keen to stay in Europe.

Speaking to former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel while appearing as a guest on ‘The Obi One Podcast’, Osimhen said: “What has been said is true.

“I have to be honest, I never thought about leaving last summer because Napoli wanted to keep me, but when the offer from Saudi Arabia arrived, a huge offer, it was difficult to refuse.

“I spoke to Napoli and I decided to stay. It was crazy. The more I said no, the more they increased the economic offer. It would have changed my life, they never gave up but I said, ‘no guys, I’m staying.’

“I had talks in August, for me it was a huge decision to make. I spoke to Napoli and we decided together to refuse.

“I didn’t want people to think I wanted to leave. It was a positive decision for my career. Although football is played for money, there is also much more to it.”

Osimhen was reportedly close to signing a new contract with Napoli after rejecting the chance to move to Saudi Arabia, though talks over a new deal have since stalled.

The relationship between Osimhen and his club came under strain earlier this season when Napoli’s official TikTok account posted videos appearing to mock their striker.

Napoli then released a statement claiming Osimhen was having “second thoughts” over a new contract last month, though they expressed hope that the two parties will reconvene for further talks in the coming weeks.

With Osimhen’s future still uncertain amid a troubled start to Napoli’s title defence, the Nigerian continues to be linked with a move to England.

During the striker’s podcast appearance, Mikel joked that he would look to broker a deal for him to join Chelsea, saying: “We are desperate for someone like you, since [Didier] Drogba left the club.”

Asked if he had a preferred Premier League destination in mind, Osimhen said: “I don’t have a favourite Premier League club, but I have two shirts: Chelsea and Manchester United.

“Many of my friends are Chelsea fans, a few are United. The Premier League is the most popular league for any African player, it’s a great league.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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