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Arsenal nearly signed highly-rated Nigerian striker last summer in big-money move

Arsenal nearly signed highly-rated Nigerian striker last summer in big-money move

Arsenal were on the cusp of Osimhen deal

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta nearly had his questions answered regarding the long-term center forward solution at the Emirates last summer, with the Gunners not far off from a move for Victor Osimhen.

According to Football.London, the highly rated 22-year-old Nigerian international – who at the time was plying his trade in northeastern France with LOSC lille – was very much on the Gunners radar before his eventual move to SSC Napoli.

This was confirmed by journalist Paolo Bargiggia, who spoke with 1 Station Radio;

“…You must know that Osimhen was followed by Arsenal: he was very close to the Gunners, but Cristiano Giuntoli [Napoli sporting director] spoke with Aurelio De Laurentiis [owner & chairman] and the president broke the delay: so Napoli decided and managed to buy him.”

With Osimhen completing his move to the then Stadio San Paolo (now known as the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona) for a cool £60million, it would have been the second time in back-to-back seasons that Arsenal would have bankrolled Les Dogues after stumping up £72million for Nicolas Pépé the prior summer.

What the data tells us; Osimhen compared to current strikers

Comparing data between different players that exist and operate in different systems can never paint the full picture, but the raw comparisons between Osimhen and current main Arsenal strikers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette paints an intriguing picture.

There is no question that the Gunners struggled in a big way for much of the 2020-21 season, especially before the turn of the year. Neither Aubameyang nor Lacazatte had a stellar season, but the numbers show that Osimhen would not have been any better…in theory.

Arsenal nearly signed highly-rated Nigerian striker last summer in big-money move

Though he logged considerably fewer minutes than then Arsenal pair, his overall goal total (10) was level with Auba and just three off Lacazette. However, that goal total came from more shots and as a consequence, Osimhen’s conversion % was far below the two Arsenal strikers. He also boasted a worse shot accuracy % and the lowest take-on success rate %, though he was the most effective in the air between the trio.

However, when in comparison with the current 2021-22 season, Osimhen stacks-up nicely against Aubameyang while showing what Arsenal could well have missed out on last summer. (note: Lacazette not included as he has only logged 31-minutes of Premier League action thus far)

Arsenal nearly signed highly-rated Nigerian striker last summer in big-money move

You decide – should Arsenal have pulled the trigger on a move for Victor Osimhen?

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This article was edited by Ben Browning.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Chelsea FC 9 20 22
2 Liverpool FC 9 21 21
3 Manchester City 9 16 20
4 West Ham United 9 6 17
5 Brighton & Hove Albion 9 0 15
6 Tottenham Hotspur 9 -4 15
7 Manchester United 9 1 14
8 Everton FC 9 1 14
9 Leicester City 9 0 14
10 Arsenal FC 9 -3 14
11 Wolverhampton Wanderers 9 0 13
12 Brentford FC 9 2 12
13 Aston Villa 9 -2 10
14 Watford FC 9 -5 10
15 Crystal Palace 9 -3 9
16 Southampton FC 9 -4 8
17 Leeds United 9 -8 7
18 Burnley FC 9 -8 4
19 Newcastle United 9 -9 4
20 Norwich City 9 -21 2

Premier League 21/22

Topscorers
Disciplinary
Assists
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 7
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 6
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 5
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 4
Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick Arsenal FC 4
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 4
Firmino, Roberto Liverpool FC 4
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 4
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United 4
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 4
Hwang, Hee-chan Wolverhampton Wanderers 4
Sarr, Ismaila Watford FC 4
Greenwood, Mason Manchester United 4
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 3
Townsend, Andros Everton FC 3
King, Joshua Watford FC 3
Ings, Danny Aston Villa 3
Benrahma, Said West Ham United 3
Gray, Demarai Everton FC 3