Arsenal ‘end interest’ in £110m striker after swap deal claims

EditorLast Update :
Arsenal ‘end interest’ in £110m striker after swap deal claims

Arsenal reportedly end their interest in Napoli striker Victor Osimhen due to the Nigerian’s hefty £110.6m release clause.

Arsenal have reportedly dropped their interest in one of their chief attacking targets for the summer transfer window after baulking at his price tag.

After four successful seasons at Napoli, Victor Osimhen is expected to call time on his career with the 2022-23 Serie A champions this summer, as confirmed by club president Aurelio de Laurentiis.

The Partenopei have fought tooth and nail to keep hold of the Nigeria international and agreed a new contract with their star striker last December, but his terms only run until the summer of 2026.

With Osimhen’s contract also including a release clause worth around €130m (£110.6m), De Laurentiis has resigned himself to losing the former Lille man to one of Europe’s financial powerhouses ahead of 2023-24.

Arsenal have been one of a handful of clubs tipped to move for Osimhen, alongside Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, although the latter will not make an approach due to the recent capture of Kylian Mbappe.

© Reuters

Arsenal ‘refuse’ to meet Osimhen release clause

It has also been reported that new Chelsea boss Enzo Maresca is against the signing of the 25-year-old as well, as he does not believe that Osimhen is a striker who can link play and drop deep, which is one of his principal requirements.

As a result, a two-way fight could have materialised between PSG and Arsenal, the latter of whom were apparently informed that a part-exchange deal involving Emile Smith Rowe and Takehiro Tomiyasu could have been their ticket to an agreement.

However, according to Sky Italia – via Metro – Arsenal have informed Napoli that they are not bowing to their £110.6m demands, especially after breaking their own transfer record with the £105m capture of Declan Rice last year.

Arsenal still rate the striker highly but cannot justify forking out a nine-figure fee, which is also the case with most of Osimhen’s other suitors, so De Laurentiis may be forced to relent on demanding that the Nigerian’s release clause is paid in full.

The Napoli president is now under added pressure to accept a lower fee for the Nigerian due to the arrival of Antonio Conte, who wants to reunite with Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku in one of his first acts as head coach.

Napoli's Victor Osimhen celebrates scoring their first goal on February 21, 2024© Reuters

PSG are now considered the favourites for Osimhen’s signature, as the ex-Lille man is not keen on moving to Saudi Arabia, and the French champions will save €200m (£170.1m) in yearly wages now that Mbappe has departed.

Osimhen topped the Serie A scoring charts in the 2022-23 season with 26 strikes, but he only managed a more modest tally of 15 in 2023-24 due to injuries and the Africa Cup of Nations.

What other strikers are Arsenal targeting?

It was always difficult to envisage Osimhen ending up in red and white unless a cut-price or part-exchange deal was brokered, and Arsenal appear to have already moved on to a younger and cheaper alternative.

RB Leipzig and Slovenia hotshot Benjamin Sesko could be available for a significantly lower fee of £55.3m, and while Chelsea and Manchester United are both in the mix, neither can offer the 21-year-old Champions League football.

Brentford’s Ivan Toney is no longer on Arsenal’s wishlist, while Newcastle United’s Alexander Isak has played down his chances of a move away from St James’ Park.

ID:545503:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:collect6548: