Cristiano Giuntoli, Napoli’s sports director, has disclosed that the club signed Nigeria international Victor Osimhen in 2020 after Erling Haaland rejected the Partenopei to join Borussia Dortmund.
The 23-year-old joined Napoli in September 2020 for a reputed €75 million sum, months after Haaland left Borussia Dortmund.Information Guide Nigeria
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The Norway international is described by Giuntoli as his “biggest regret.”
“The contract with Salzburg was done already; we would have paid his €25m clause. He and Osimhen were our priorities and when Haaland opted for Borussia Dortmund, we went for Victor. To us, they were on the same level,” he told Il Corriere Dello Sport.
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The Partenopei are eight points ahead of second-placed Milan in Serie A. They are the only unbeaten team in the Italian top flight.
The Nigerian attacker Osimhen has been Napoli’s greatest player and perhaps one of the best in Serie A this season, scoring nine goals and assisting on three more in 11 league matches.
The Partenopei have accomplished remarkable results in Italy and Europe despite selling some of their top players, including Kalidou Koulibaly, Lorenzo Insigne, and Fabian Ruiz, in the summer of 2017.
What has been the key to Napoli’s success this season?
“Commitment, competence, and the courage of ownership that has proved his worth in the last 18 years,” Giuntoli added.
“COVID forced us to change because the wage bill was no longer sustainable and the situation almost reset the financial resources.
“Despite COVID, De Laurentiis invested in signing Osimhen, but we had to make drastic decisions and open a new cycle.”
Giuntoli has been at the club for almost 10 years and has sometimes had a tense rapport with president Aurelio De Laurentiis.
“I can’t deny that there have been some misunderstandings, but it’s understandable in a rapport that’s been lasting for 10 years,” he admitted.
“Perhaps, he didn’t like my attitude at some point and thought I had some technical choices wrong.
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