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Osimhen: Saudi Arabian clubs tempted me with huge money but I fear my career

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Napoli striker Victor Osimhen has left the door ajar for a potential move to the Premier League after John Obi Mikel urged him to join Chelsea.

The Nigeria international scored 26 goals in 32 Serie A appearances last term as Napoli won the Scudetto for the first time in 33 years and he’s followed that up by bagging six goals in eight league outings this term.

His brilliant performances and goalscoring ability has seen him linked with a number of clubs around Europe, including Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea.

The 24-year-old is unlikely to be on the move in January with Napoli sporting director Mauro Meluso recently dismissing the chance of any of their top players leaving in the middle of the season.

Chelsea had been struggling to convert their chances in the earlier stages of the season but they’ve now scored a combined 14 goals in their last five Premier League fixtures.

But former Blues midfielder Mikel believes they are still lacking a striker like Osimhen – who is one of the most valuable players in the world – with the former Nigeria international urging his compatriot to move to Stamford Bridge.

“We’re crying out for him,” Mikel said on The Obi One Podcast.

“You look at our Chelsea team, we’re not playing that great at the minute but then we lack goals, we lack a striker who can run into spaces, who can create.

“I was watching Darwin Nunez for Liverpool, he had about 11 shots and all the runs he made, he created those chances by himself because he was running in behind.

“That’s something Victor will give us at Chelsea, a striker who is really willing to run behind, obviously those passes will come through and he will get goals.

“I think we’re crying out for goals, if he comes to Chelsea I think it will suit him really well because we don’t have anyone doing that right now so there’s not going to be too much pressure on him coming into the club because obviously we need that, we’re crying out for that.

“You know, my advice is for him to come to Chelsea.”

Osimhen, who was a guest on Mikel’s podcast, hinted that he would only move to another European club if he left Napoli after rejecting a move to Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal over the summer.

When asked if he wants to carry on playing in Europe, Osimhen said on The Obi One Podcast: “Of course.

“What was said was true, I had talks, in August that week was a huge one, a huge decision for me to take, but I actually put it in God’s hands.

“But the more I said no to these people [in Saudi Arabia] the more they increased it and increased it, it was literally like, ‘wow’, seeing these things.

“I spoke with the people in charge and we spoke about it with my club and we saw what we could do, we decided, me and them and I told them, ‘I like these people, I want to stay, I don’t think I want to leave for now’. They understand where I’m coming from but they never gave up until their own transfer window [closed].

“I said to them even before we played the first game of the season, ‘it’s done’, I really didn’t want to go back thinking, of course it’s a huge one, an amazing one that’s going to change my life but of course I had to make the decision that’s good for my career too.

“As much as we play football for money there’s more that comes with it.”

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Real Madrid ’99 percent’ certain to land Mbappe, says Liga boss

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Spain’s La Liga chief Javier Tebas believes it is almost certain that superstar striker Kylian Mbappe will be playing for Real Madrid next season, he told French daily L’Equipe in an interview published on Friday.

The 25-year-old France captain told his club Paris Saint-Germain earlier this month that he would leave them at the end of this season.

“Knowing that he is leaving PSG, there is a 99 percent chance that Mbappe will sign for Real. But I don’t know if he has already signed,” the La Liga president Tebas said.

Mbappe has never hidden his admiration since childhood of Real Madrid, who are favourites to land one of world football’s biggest talents.

“It’s big news for Real and for Spanish football. He is one of the best players in the world. From my point of view, (Jude) Bellingham, (Erling) Haaland and Mbappe are the three dominant players on the planet, and two are already at Real Madrid,” said Tebas.

Sources close to the matter say wage negotiations between Real and Mbappe are advanced.

Tebas also praised the way Real Madrid is run.

“Economically, they are very responsive,” he said.

“Currently their financial results are very good and they can spend much more than they do. Real were very prudent financially and prepared for the signing of Mbappe.”

 

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Don’t join Arsenal, Henry warns Osimhen

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Barcelona and Arsenal legend, Theirry Henry, has tasked Napoli striker, Victor Osimhen, to be more consistent in scoring but urged the forward not to join Arsenal if he eventually made the move to the English Premier League.

The Frenchman stated this after Osimhen;s goal against Barcelona in Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 first-leg clash in Naples kept the Partenopei in the tie.

The Nigerian striker drew Napoli level at 1-1 with his only attempt on goal in the encounter 15 minutes after Robert Lewandowski broke the deadlock on the hour mark.

The goal was his first in as many games since rejoining Napoli after playing for Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations in December.

It was also his sixth in six Champions League games for the Partenopei at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium.

He now sits behind Erling Haaland (12) and Kylian Mbappe (nine) for recent home goals scored in the competition over the last two seasons.

Furthermore, his goal against Barcelona saw him tie Napoli captain, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, and Lorenzo Insigne for goals scored in the Champions League with Napoli, and sits just behind Dries Mertens, who netted 11 in Europe’s premier club competition.

Speaking with CBS Sports Golazo, the French U-21 coach challenged the 25-year-old to prove himself outside of the Italian Serie A where he won the Scudetto and won the Capocannoniere.

“I think he needed the goal today (on Wednesday),” Henry said on the UEFA Champions League show with CBS Sports Golazo.

“At the AFCON, we saw him, he can lead the line, run into the channels, and he has excellent hold-up play.

“How good can he be? He showed last year what he could do and won the African Player of The Year along the way, winning the Scudetto with Napoli and getting to the final with Nigeria.”

Henry, a Champions League winner with Barcelona in 2009, urged the Nigerian to prove himself in other European leagues.

The 25-year-old has been linked with moves to Chelsea and PSG but Henry warned against a switch to Arsenal.

“I’d like to see him now, what he can do in the Premier League or wherever he’s going or Paris Saint-Germain. Not Arsenal, I won’t go there.

“I want to see him take the next step and be more consistent with his output, but to be able to win the title with Napoli the way he did will stay in history forever, so all the best to him in his career.”

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GENNARO GATTUSO SACKED BY MARSEILLE AFTER DISMAL START TO 2024, JEAN-LOUIS GASSET STEPS IN

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Gennaro Gattuso was brought in to try and stabilise things a bit at Marseille. However, whilst there were some shoots of encouragement, things have taken a turn for the worse – and with the club languishing outside of the European places, Marseille have made their move to try and salvage their season.

Marseille have fired Gennaro Gattuso after failing to win a league match in 2024, with the south-coast club appointing Jean-Louis Gasset as interim manager.
The developments come after Marseille were beaten 1-0 by Ligue 1 surprise package Brest on Sunday.
Gattuso, 46, was hired by Marseille in September after previous incumbent Marcelinho stepped down just three months into his tenure for personal reasons.

“Olympique de Marseille announces the end of its collaboration with Gennaro Gattuso,” Marseille said in a statement.
“Marseille would like to extend its special thanks to Gennaro and his entire staff for the unfailing commitment and professionalism they have shown on a daily basis, and wishes them all the best for the future.”

Gasset was sacked by the Ivory Coast during their triumphant Africa Cup of Nations campaign.
Gattuso led the club into the play-off round of the Europa League but the club have struggled recently. Their only win in 2024 came in the Coupe de France when they scraped past fifth-tier side US Thionville Lusitanos 1-0. Their last Ligue 1 win came on December 17 against Clermont Foot.
Their poor form has seen them drop to ninth in the table. They are eight points back from Monaco, who occupy the final European spot in fifth, and a further point off Nice who sit in the third Champions League spot.
Gasset will be Marseille’s fifth manager in the past three years with Jorge Sampaoli, Igor Tudor, Marcelinho and now Gattuso struggling to stay long-term on the French south coast.

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