Napoli top scorer Victor Osimhen is at the centre of a bizarre situation because of a now-deleted TikTok video published by the Italian club.
Nigeria striker Osimhen was already the subject of transfer rumours, which are now only going to intensify in light of what took place on social media and appeared to be mockery from the reigning Serie A champions.
Osimhen’s agent has even suggested that his client could take legal action against the Champions League side over the post.
Here’s what we know about the saga, what Osimhen’s representative and Napoli have said and how it could affect his future on the pitch.
Osimhen TikTok video: What did Napoli post?
Napoli and Osimhen had a match to forget at Bologna on Sunday, continuing an indifferent start to the season with a goalless draw.
When he was substituted, the sought-after Serie A leading marksman in 2022/23 appeared to question manager Rudi Garcia and suggest he should have been used as one of two forwards.
Osimhen, who has scored three times in six appearances this season, had earlier missed a penalty, and Napoli replayed his blunder with a sped-up voice saying “give me penalty, please” over footage of the 24-year-old asking for the ball.
Napoli, who currently have a photo of Osimhen holding a ball on the front of their official website, subsequently deleted the post amid bafflement from fans.
???????? This was the original video posted by Napoli about Victor Osimhen… and then deleted.
⚠️ …player’s agent Calenda announced that Osimhen is considering to take legal action against Napoli. pic.twitter.com/0PLunco9aD
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) September 26, 2023
What did Osimhen’s agent say about the TikTok video?
Writing on social media platform X — previously known as Twitter — Osimhen’s agent, Roberto Calenda, said: “We reserve the right to take legal action and any useful initiative to protect Victor.
“What happened today on Napoli’s official profile on the TikTok platform is not acceptable. A video mocking Victor was first made public and then, but now belatedly, deleted.
“A serious fact that causes very serious damage to the player and adds to the treatment that the boy is suffering in the last period between media trials and fake news.”
EuroFoot reported that Osimhen had removed “most Napoli-related posts” from his account on Instagram, where he has almost three million followers.
The Guardian reported that Napoli did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside normal business hours.
For now, all eyes will be on tonight’s match (Wednesday, Sept. 27) between Napoli vs. Udinese to see if Osimhen features.
Will Victor Osimhen leave Napoli?
Osimhen’s profile and achievements have unsurprisingly attracted attention from leading clubs keen to compete for the signature of the man who was only outscored by four players in Europe across the 2022/23 season, netting 26 times in 52 games.
Some were interested while Osimhen was making his name: in 2016, before he joined Wolfsburg, Osimhen said Arsenal had wanted to sign him — and he seemed pleased to have been a target for the Gunners.
Aside from concerns over the frequency with which Osimhen has picked up injuries, the major stumbling block for his suitors will be his asking price.
Victor Osimhen has a dream of playing in the Premier League ????????????pic.twitter.com/bEDAKd56Mo
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) March 7, 2023
According to Italian football expert James Horncastle, Napoli’s notoriously hard-bargaining president Aurelio de Laurentiis will not let Osimhen leave his club without a huge fee.
That price would be more than 100m euros (£89m / $105.3m) and “probably closer to” 150m euros (£133m / $158m), according to Horncastle — a price tag only bettered by the fees paid for Kylian Mbappe and Neymar in the past.
Horncastle said that only Paris St-Germain, Real Madrid or “to some extent” Barcelona could meet that valuation, but Manchester United have been repeatedly linked with Osimhen, as have Manchester City and Chelsea.
All three Premier League clubs have the colossal financial clout to potentially pay De Laurentiis’ purported price, but United’s signing of Rasmus Hojlund could quell their interest.
Victor Osimhen contract, salary
Osimhen is under contract until 2025 and earns £112,000 ($135,000) a week, according to Pulse Sports.
Napoli have long been keen for him to sign improved terms, according to widespread reports.