Victor Osimhen has been linked with a transfer to Chelsea and that move being pulled off could depend on Arsenal’s own summer decision
Arsenal could play a key role in Chelsea’s pursuit of Napoli striker Victor Osimhen who has been linked with a move away from Italy. The Nigeria international scored 25 goals in Napoli’s title-winning season which has also resulted in Bayern Munich and Manchester United joining the Blues in the summer race for his signature.
Given his importance to Napoli, the club have already delivered a firm stance on his availability in the market with reports from Italy suggesting that Osimhen could cost as much as €150million (£130m). However, football.london understands that the Blues are considering a bid which could demand a record-breaking fee.
Napoli boss Luciano Spalletti leaving the club to take a sabbatical has further clouded Osimhen’s future, and likely aware he could leave amid the uncertainty, Napoli have identified his potential replacement in Arsenal forward Folarin Balogun.
The Hale End graduate has enjoyed a spectacular loan spell at Reims in Ligue 1 where he has bagged 20 goals from 36 appearances. Balogun will now return to north London this summer where talks about his future will take place, however the end conclusion appears to already be known.
Currently ahead of him in the pecking order is Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah and because he wants first-team assurances that he is unlikely to get, a permanent exit, as he does not want another loan spell, seems inevitable.
The Athletic claim that AC Milan, Inter Milan, RB Leipzig, Marseille and Monaco are also interested in the 21-year-old and with Napoli now throwing their name in the hat, a bidding war could drive up his asking price which currently sits at £35million.
Balogun recently switched his national allegiance from England to the USA in his first major decision of 2023 with another likely to follow.
If Napoli win the race for his signature, Chelsea could be the main beneficiaries as it would open the door for Osimhen to make a Stamford Bridge switch.
As mentioned, Man United and Bayern also want to sign the former Lille man, but both are looking at Eintracht Frankfurt’s Randal Kolo Muani as an alternative. Chelsea meanwhile, are keeping tabs on Juventus star Dusan Vlahovic and Inter’s Lautaro Martinez.