Premier League • England

Chelsea, Arsenal suffer hammer blow as top target on cusp of new deal with colossal release clause revealed

Napoli duo Piotr Zielinski and Victor Osimhen

Napoli duo Piotr Zielinski and Victor Osimhen

Chelsea and Arsenal may have to look elsewhere after Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis hinted Victor Osimhen is close to signing a new contract.

Osimhen, 24, has become hot property after his goalscoring exploits for the Italian outfit.

The Nigeria hitman bagged 31 goals from 39 appearances in all competitions last term. And his 26 league goals propelled I Partenopei to the Serie A title.

The former Wolfsburg star has found the net on six occasions from 12 outings this season.

That has prompted some of Europe’s big hitters to sit up and take notice.

Chelsea were strongly linked during the summer transfer window. But, despite issues surrounding his contract, Osimhen remained in Naples.

The African is under contract until the summer of 2025. But, with an impasse over the terms of a fresh deal, it looked as though an exit was likely.

Chelsea remain in the hunt while the Gunners have also been mentioned in connection with the forward.

However, it was reported earlier this week that Spanish giants Real Madrid also hold an interest.

That may well put a spanner in the works for the London duo although an even bigger hurdle has now emerged.

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Relations between player and club dipped earlier this season when they posted a video mocking him.

However, it appears as though that has all blown over as a new contract is in the offing, according to De Laurentiis.

“With Osimhen, we are about to sign the contract that was pending this summer,” he told reporters, via CalcioMercato.

Napoli slap huge release clause on Osimhen

Osimhen’s career looked steady if unspectacular until 2022-2023.

In one season with Lille, he notched 18 goals from 38 appearances and also struck 18 for Napoli in 2021-22.

But he elevated his game to another level last season and is now wanted by the top dogs in Europe.

Whether other clubs enter the picture only time will tell.

However, Napoli are protecting themselves with a whopping release clause of around £130m, according to reports.

Details are still to be revealed but it is unlikely that either club would go that high.

The Blues are desperate for an out-and-out goalscorer as they have struggled to find the net in what has been a disappointing campaign to date.

That is despite the huge outlay sanctioned by Todd Boehly.

Osimhen would appear to fit the bill but it seems as though he may well be staying put, if the report turns out to be true.

Mikel Arteta is known to be a big fan of the striker. He brought in Gabriel Jesus to lead the line but the Brazilian has struggled with fitness issues.

With just 11 goals last season and five to date this time around, he is not supplying the volume that the Spanish tactician desires.

He may be forced to look elsewhere if Osimhen does ink fresh terms at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

And even Chelsea’s seemingly bottomless cash reserves may not be enough to land their target.

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