Chelsea could test the resolve of Napoli during the January transfer window for Victor Osimhen and the Serie A champions have responded by identifying some potential replacements, per a report.
Osimhen became one of the most fearsome strikers in Europe last season when standing out in a title-winning Napoli side. His current club managed to keep hold of him in the summer, but things have not gone so smoothly since.
It has been a difficult start to their title defence for Napoli, who recently replaced Rudi Garcia as head coach with Walter Mazzarri.
As for the Osimhen saga, things took a turn for the worse when the club’s official TikTok account posted clips effectively mocking the Nigeria international for a penalty miss.
Contract talks between club and player have since stalled somewhat, leading to more optimism from his admirers elsewhere that he may be available in 2024.
And now, an update from 90min has explained that Chelsea could bid for Osimhen in January, prompting Napoli to get more active in their search for his successor.
As things stand, there are four names under consideration, including two who share the same nationality as Osimhen.
Whoever Napoli narrow it down to, they would likely have the funds to get their way, since the asking price they have set for Osimhen could see Chelsea break their transfer record yet again.
In January 2023, Chelsea paid the most expensive fee ever by a British club to sign Enzo Fernandez from Benfica, before outdoing themselves with the summer signing of Moises Caicedo from Brighton.
Caicedo cost them around £115m, which is lower than what Napoli would demand for Osimhen, despite his contract being up in 2025.
Indeed, our own sources told us this week that the benchmark for the Osimhen deal could be £120m.
After his 65 goals from 112 appearances for the club, it is easy to see why Napoli will still make it tough for anyone who wants to lure Osimhen away.
But they have some decent options in mind in case they do lose him, in order to soften the blow.
Napoli shortlist paves way for Chelsea deal
Boniface has been a revelation in the Bundesliga this season, for example, while Openda has also hit the ground running there.
Both of them are newcomers to the German top flight after summer transfers from Union SG in Belgium and Lens in France respectively.
As for their options currently in Ligue 1, David was one of the top scorers in France last season, while Adams has started well since leaving Norwegian side Lillestrom and moving to Montpellier.
All four players on the Napoli shortlist could become long-term successors to Osimhen. Boniface will turn 23 in December, Adams and David 24 in January, and Openda 24 in February.
Osimhen himself will celebrate his 25th birthday just before the turn of the year, which fits the profile of player Chelsea should be looking at.
In the summer, they signed a younger centre-forward in the shape of Nicolas Jackson from Villarreal. However, while his potential is clear, they could do with someone already in their prime.
Osimhen’s form last season suggested he indeed is, and even this season he has scored six goals from nine Serie A appearances.