Victor Osimhen, the towering striker for both the Nigerian Super Eagles and Italy’s Napoli, has consistently turned down substantial offers from Al-Hilal, a Saudi Arabian club, indicating his reluctance to leave Napoli for the oil-rich Gulf state. Despite Al-Hilal’s persistent pursuit and generous offerings, Osimhen has rejected their advances on two separate occasions.
Napoli’s President, Aurelio De Laurentiis, known for his tough negotiation stance, firmly maintains that Osimhen, a prized asset and last season’s Scudetto Golden Boot awardee, is not available for purchase. Laurentiis recently stated that he wouldn’t part with Osimhen for even $200 million, regardless of the extraordinary sum.
While the Saudi Arabia Pro League experiences an influx of European league players, Osimhen, who scored 26 goals in 32 appearances for Napoli last season, remains uninterested in the Saudi destination. Osimhen is widely recognized as a top talent and enjoys substantial support from his club and fans.
One consideration for Osimhen could be the allegations of sportswashing leveled against Saudi Arabia. Accused of longstanding human rights violations, the country diverts its oil wealth into various sports, including football, golf, boxing, and tennis.
Furthermore, Osimhen is a young striker with years ahead in his career. Players within his age bracket typically prefer top European leagues over pursuing quick financial gains that might compromise their burgeoning careers.
Despite Saudi Arabia’s economy being oil-driven, boasting the world’s highest oil reserves, several prominent footballers, including Osimhen’s sought-after counterparts, have turned down lucrative offers. For instance, Lionel Messi declined a $220 million proposal from Al-Hilal, the same club pursuing Osimhen. Similarly, Kylian Mbappe rejected a $330 million contract offer. High-profile players like Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Barcelona’s Roberto Lewandowski have also shown disinterest in such lucrative contracts.
By Ikenna Okafor