Super Eagles forward and Napoli new signing Victor Osimhen admitted on Wednesday he was skeptical of joining the Serie A club because of the racist reputation of some fans in Italy.

Former Nigeria international Victor Ezeji believes it will be wrong to focus just on Napoli forward Victor Osimhen for the new Serie A season without paying attention to his countryman Simy Nwankwo at Crotone.

Osimhen has been making headlines beyond the Campania capital following his big-money move from Lille. So much attention has been placed on the 21-year-old such that he has been tipped in some quarters to walk in the shoes of club greats like Diego Maradona, Edinson Cavani and Gonzalo Higuain.

Ezeji says that the quality of the Napoli squad and Osimhen’s eagerness to impress makes him the obvious pick between the two Nigerians.

“Osimhen is younger than Simy. Then you also have to consider the quality of players in Napoli and the quality of players in Crotone,” the Caf Champions League winner told Goal.

“Osimhen is very hungry. When you see him play, you know he is playing with his heart. He wants to score, he wants to chase every ball, he has so much energy to expend. That’s why everyone is clamouring for Osimhen.

“He has eyes for goals. He wants to score against every opponent even if they are market women, and that’s how a striker should be when you have that hunger. He’s a young lad, I believe he’s going to do so well in the Serie A.”


Ezeji, however, thinks Simy will not be a pushover owing to the consistency and following he has built at Crotone since he arrived from Gil Vicente in 2016. The Rossoblu got relegated during the 2017-18 season, but got promotion back within two seasons, part of which saw the 27-year-old finish as top scorer in Serie B last season with 20 strikes, and Ezeji believes Simy has what it takes to be among the leading scorers in Serie A this time.

“For Simy, I don’t think he is a pushover. Simy is well built, strong and is also reliable,” he continued. “He is strong aerially which is more of his strength so if his teammates understand him very well, which they do, that’s why he was able to win Serie B top scorer.

“So, if there is continuity in Serie A, and Crotone are able to recruit one or two good players, I think Simy can muscle his way among the league’s best goalscorers.

“Why everyone is clamouring for Osimhen is because of the amount of money he was bought with. When you become a record signing, you would be the toast of everyone and talk of the town and that’s exactly what’s happening to Osimhen, but I don’t think Simy will be a pushover. He will have his time to prove himself in the Serie A as well.

“The good thing about a striker is to start well. Once you start well your confidence has no bounds. I think if Simy is able to start well, he will have that confidence. I see him as a player that can deliver at any time that whatever he does in the box will turn to gold.”

Osimhen will be hoping to make his much-awaited Serie A debut when Napoli visit Parma on Sunday while Simy will be in action with Crotone travelling to Genoa on the same day.

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