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Napoli striker Victor Osimhen gave a crystal clear response to Rio Ferdinand after the Manchester United icon raised a doubt over the Nigerian amid their reported interest in the forward. The Red Devils are looking to land a marquee number nine for Erik ten Hag and Osimhen has been mentioned alongside Harry Kane in recent months.
Osimhen is one of the hottest prospects on the market this summer and the new Serie A champions are expected to fetch over £100million, having already set a price tag of £140m for their star man. However, Ferdinand has expressed a concern that there is a chance that his goal tally may not translate to the Premier League after 25 league goals in Italy.
“Osimhen is a different kettle of fish,” Ferdinand said on his Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE YouTube channel. “He’s 24-years-old, scored goals in France and Italy. Won the league (in Italy) and knows how to win leagues.
“He’s been a number nine at a dominant team. Is that transferable to the Premier League? No-one knows that. That’s the chance United would have to take on him. That’s the only risk I see.
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“He doesn’t know the league. Ability-wise and profile, he ticks every box, but there is an unknown factor. Can he adapt? I’d take either of those two and I’d be happy but Kane guarantees you 25 goals a season, there’s no doubt he would get that.”
Kane has notched a personal-best 28 league goals this season, but Osimhen has swiftly responded to Ferdinand’s analysis by bagging a brace in his side’s 2-2 draw away to Bologna. In the champions’ penultimate game of the season, he opened the scoring by pouncing on an error by the home goalkeeper to tap into an empty net.
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He then latched onto a tidy pass to give Napoli a 2-0 lead with a composed finish into the corner, before his side conceded two late goals as they could not hang onto the three points.
Osimhen will be pleased with his personal tally, however, having scored more goals this season than the previous two combined in Italy as questions continue over whether he will depart Napoli in a big-money move. Napoli boss Luciano Spalletti, who is set to exit the club, disagreed with Ferdinand after the draw and felt that Osimhen can be a top player at any club.
“When players start working in a certain way, you identify their characteristics and find paths to give them service,” Spalletti said. “Osimhen is good in open spaces, in the air, with the ball passed to his feet.
“He will have an important future, no matter what team he plays in, and is above all a good lad too. His teammates love him, he helps them out and resolves situations rather than complains. He will become even more of a top player in future.”
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