Victor James Osimhen (born 29 December 1998) is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a forward for Serie A club Napoli and the Nigeria national team. Known for his composure and finishing, he is widely regarded as one of the most promising and most in-demand African footballers.
Osimhen with Lille in 2019
|Full name||Victor James Osimhen|
|Date of birth||29 December 1998|
|Place of birth||Lagos, Nigeria|
|Height||1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|Ultimate Strikers Academy|
|2018–2019||→ Charleroi (loan)||25||(12)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 21:18, 11 May 2021 (UTC)|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 30 March 2021
Born in Nigeria, Osimhen began his senior career in Germany at VfL Wolfsburg in 2017. Following a season and a half at the club, he moved to Belgian side Charleroi on loan in 2018–19, before moving to France at Lille. With the French side, he was nominated the club's Player of the Season. In 2020 Osimhen transferred to Serie A club Napoli for a club-record fee of €70 million.
Osimhen started his career at the Ultimate Strikers Academy, based in Lagos, Nigeria. In January 2016, after being noticed for his performances at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup, Osimhen committed to a pre-contract with VfL Wolfsburg, stipulating that he would officially join the club in January 2017.
On 5 January 2017, Osimhen officially signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with the club, lasting until June 2020. Out with an injury upon his arrival, On 13 May, Osimhen made his Bundesliga debut for Wolfsburg, coming on as a substitute in the 59th minute in a 1–1 draw against Borussia Mönchengladbach. Osimhen also came on the following week in a pivotal relegation tie against Hamburger SV, on what was the final match day of the 2016–17 season. He replaced defender Sebastian Jung with the score tied 1–1, and Hamburg scored a late winner to pass Wolfsburg in the table, sending Wolfsburg to a relegation playoff with Eintracht Braunschweig. Osimhen was in the squad for both matches, receiving a cameo at the end of the second leg with Wolfsburg's participation in the next Bundesliga confirmed, as they won 2–0 on aggregate.
Osimhen was named in 12 of the 17 matchday squads in the first half of the 2017–18 season, appearing in 5 games. He earned his full Bundesliga debut on 28 January 2018 against Hannover, playing the full 90 minutes in their 1–0 win. Osimhen made two more starts the rest of the campaign, playing the full match against Werder Bremen on 11 February and being replaced at the half by Daniel Didavi against Hertha Berlin on 31 March. Wolfsburg were again in the relegation playoff, but Osimhen missed out through injury. He also appeared in one game of Wolfsburg's DFB Pokal campaign, replacing midfielder Josuha Guilavogui for the last ten minutes of their 1–0 defeat to Schalke in the quarter-final. Osimhen underwent shoulder surgery on 2 May, ending his season with 12 appearances in the Bundesliga to his name.
Osimhen had summer trials with Belgian clubs Zulte Waregem and Club Brugge, who were the reigning champions. However, a summer bout with malaria had affected his physical condition, and neither club decided to take him on loan. On 22 August 2018, Osimhen joined Belgian club Charleroi on a season-long loan deal, having failed to score in any of his 16 appearances with Wolfsburg. He replaced the departed Kaveh Rezaei, who was sold to Club Brugge after scoring 3 goals in the first three games of the season. Osimhen made his debut on 1 September against Excel Mouscron, entering as a late substitute for Jérémy Perbet. Osimhen made his full debut on 22 September, scoring his first goal as a professional with a backheel against Waasland-Beveren. Waasland-Beveren would equalise against 10-man Charleroi, and Perbet would later get sent off in the game as well, aiding manager Felice Mazzu's selection up top. Osimhen would start with Adama Niane for the next four games, scoring the club's only goal in losses to Cercle Brugge and Gent. He also scored twice in the last five minutes 3–2 win over Zulte Waregem on 21 October, after Hamdi Harbaoui had given Waregem a 2–1 lead with a second half brace. Osimhen was not dropped from the side until 25 November, when he scored a goal off the bench in the club's 4–2 win over Lokeren. After the game, Osimhen told BBC Sport that he had "found his happiness again". Osimhen finished the first half with 8 goals in 16 games, second only to Cristian Benavente in the team.
After a successful spell with the Belgian side, playing 36 games and scoring 20 goals, Charleroi activated their option to acquire Osimhen following his satisfactory performances while on loan.
Osimhen was named the Ligue 1 Player of the Month for September 2019, having scored two goals and assisted two more in Lille's five league matches. On 2 June 2020, he was awarded Lille's Player of the Season, having secured the highest number of votes from fans.
Osimhen scored his first goal in the UEFA Champions League on 2 October 2019, coming in a 1–2 home defeat to English side Chelsea. The Nigerian finished the season as Lille's top scorer, with 13 goals in 25 Ligue 1 matches, and 18 goals across all competitions. His strong goalscoring performances saw Osimhen tipped by many to be in running for the African Footballer of the Year award in the near future.
On 31 July 2020, Serie A club Napoli announced the signing of Osimhen, for a club-record fee of €70 million potentially rising to €80 million with add-ons, making him the most expensive African transfer to date.
On 17 October 2020, Osimhen scored his first goal for Napoli in a 4–1 win against Atalanta. Upon scoring, he held up a shirt calling for the ending of the ongoing police brutality in his home country of Nigeria.
On 13 November 2020, during an Africa Cup of Nations qualifying game played whilst on international break with Nigeria, Osimhen was stretchered off injured. This was then diagnosed as a shoulder injury that would keep Osimhen away from the playing field for two months.
While recovering from the injury, Osimhen was authorized by his club to spend time in his home country, where he got a chance to celebrate his birthday. It was during these birthday celebrations that it is believed Osimhen contracted the COVID-19 virus, as he tested positive upon returning to Naples. This positive test, together with his shoulder injury, kept Osimhen away from action until his return to the side on 29 January 2021, when he was subbed on for around twenty minutes of Napoli's Coppa Italia win against Spezia.
Osimhen was named to the squad of the Nigeria under-17 team that won the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile, where Osimhen won the Golden Boot and Silver Ball awards. His performances also earned him the CAF Youth Player of the Year award in 2015. Osimhen made his senior debut for Nigeria in a 3–0 friendly win over Togo on 1 June 2017.
Osimhen missed out on Nigeria's 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign after his inconsistent season at Wolfsburg. Following a successful start to his loan spell at Charleroi, he was recalled by Gernot Rohr for the November 2018 international break, starting their friendly win over Uganda.
In March 2019, Osimhen was released from the Super Eagles squad to represent the Nigerian U23 side as they were two goals down against their Libyan opponent. He scored three goals in the return match against Libya in Asaba.
Osimhen was listed in coach Gernot Rohr's 25-man provisional list for 2019 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt and was further listed in the final list for the tournament. In the match for third place, he replaced the injured Odion Ighalo at half-time in the team's 1–0 victory over Tunisia. He played a total of 45 mins at the tournament
On 14 August 2019, the coach of the Nigerian National Team, Gernot Rohr, invited Osimhen for a friendly against Ukraine, that was played on 10 September 2019 in Dnipro Arena, Ukraine which ended in a 2–2 draw. Super Eagles end qualifying series on high, beat Lesotho 3-0
- As of match played 11 May 2021
|Charleroi (loan)||2018–19||Pro League||25||12||2||1||—||9||7||36||20|
- 1.^ Includes DFB-Pokal, Belgian Cup, Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue and Coppa Italia.
- 2.^ Includes UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.
- 3.^ Includes Bundesliga relegation play-offs and Belgian First Division A playoffs.
- As of match played 30 March 2021
- Scores and results list Nigeria's goal tally first.
|1||10 September 2019||Dnipro-Arena, Dnipro, Ukraine||Ukraine||Friendly|
|2||13 November 2019||Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, Nigeria||Benin||2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
|3||17 November 2019||Setsoto Stadium, Maseru, Lesotho||Lesotho|
|5||13 November 2020||Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, Nigeria||Sierra Leone||2–0|
|6||30 March 2021||Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, Nigeria||Lesotho||1–0|
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- Victor Osimhen at WorldFootball.net
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- "Et le Dogue de la saison est..." [And the Master of the season is...] (in French). Lille OSC. 2 June 2020. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
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