Barcelona Wanted Napoli Striker Victor Osimhen to Replace Luis Suarez

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Victor Osimhen secured a mouth-watering five-year deal with Napoli in an €80 million move from Lille earlier this summer, however, Roberto Calenda — a member of Osimhen’s management team — claims that the 21-year old was targeted by FC Barcelona, who saw him as a replacement for want-away striker Luis Suarez.

Osimhen had an outstanding season for Lille last season. The Nigerian striker racked up 18 goals in 28 appearances in all competition, while also setting up five assists for his teammates.

His class in front of goal did not go unnoticed, as he was eyed by a host of Europe’s top clubs, with the likes of Premier League champions Liverpool and Spurs interested in his services.

In light of his Napoli move, Osimhen was reportedly targeted by Spanish giants FC Barcelona. His agent claims Barcelona looked to bring in the 21-year-old to replace veteran striker Luis Suarez, per Goal.

CASTEL DI SANGRO, ITALY – AUGUST 28: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Victor Osimhen of Napoli controls the ball during the pre-season friendly match between SSC Napoli and LAquila Calcio at Stadio Comunale Teofilo Patini on August 28, 2020 in Castel di Sangro, Italy. (Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Luis Suarez reportedly wants out of the Camp Nou after newly appointed Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman told him he does not have him in his plans.

Speaking on Barcelona’s interest, Osimhen’s agent said: “I usually never talk about these things, out of respect for professionalism and the club.

“It is right that Napoli says things as they went, they are the main players,” Calenda told Radio Marte.

“I can say that it was a well-conducted negotiation by the parties, we started from a distance. The signing took place with constant communication and we were good at keeping track of it.

“[It was a] difficult operation, Tottenham and Liverpool wanted Osimhen until the end, even Barcelona initially wanted him instead of Suarez. 

Napoli, however, did everything. They wanted him and took him.”

CASTEL DI SANGRO, ITALY – AUGUST 28: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Victor Osimhen of Napoli controls the ball during the pre-season friendly match between SSC Napoli and LAquila Calcio at Stadio Comunale Teofilo Patini on August 28, 2020, in Castel di Sangro, Italy. (Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

 Napoli head coach, Gennaro Gattuso, previously stated that the Nigerian striker needs time to adapt to his new team, and Calenda believed he is right.

“The boy [Osimhen] is an exemplary professional, very serious, and very serene. 

 “This is important when you get to teams where there have been players who have made football history,” he continued.

 “The coach’s [Gattuso] words are right: you have to wait and give him time because he comes from far away, he must adapt to our championship and our customs. 

“But without a shadow of a doubt he has great talent and I am sure he will prove it because he has some important characteristics.”

Osimhen made an impactful start to his Napoli career by scoring a hat-trick and providing an assist in an 11-0 friendly win over L’Aquila at Castel di Sangro last Friday.