BEVERLY HILLS, February 22, (THEWILL) – The move of Nigerian striker Victor James Osimhen from Ligue 1 to Serie A has been beleaguered by trying times for both player and Italian club, Napoli. The Nigerian was still getting accustomed to the style of play and his new environments and teammates when he sustained a shoulder injury that left him on a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
He had only recently resumed a starting position in front and once more, he faces another injury layoff. On Sunday, Napoli confirmed that Osimhen, who was involved in a nasty collision with Atalanta centre back Cristian Romero, was diagnosed with head trauma in their 4-2 defeat at the Gewiss Stadium, Bergamo.
It was Osimhen’s 10th league appearance, since moving to Italy in the summer transfer, out of 23 League games so far played in the top flight of Italian football. The 22-year-old was featured as the centre forward for Gennaro Gattuso’s side in their second consecutive defeat, after they lost against Granada in the Europa League on Thursday.
Osimhen’s collision with Romero happened during the closing moments of the game, and the Nigerian international fell awkwardly, hitting the back of his head on the turf before losing consciousness in a supine position on the pitch.
The referee and players who caught sight of the incident could immediately tell how serious it was and promptly requested medical intervention, especially as it showed that he was unconscious. Osimhen was subsequently stretchered off and transported by ambulance to the hospital.
In hospital, he was put through a series of tests and with more precise medical information at hand, Napoli revealed the nature of his condition due to the fall. Their brief and succinct official statement, from their website, read:
“Victor Osimhen, following the injury with head trauma suffered in the final minutes of Atalanta-Napoli, underwent tests with negative results.
“The player will remain in Bergamo until tomorrow under the clinical observation of the blue health manager Raffaele Canonico.”
As alluded to earlier, it has been a challenging debut season for the striker with the Blues of Napoli. The Parthenopeans have not had the chance to reap from the investment they made when they brought him to Italy from France as he has been blighted by one problem or another, from injury to suspension and from coronavirus-related issues to another injury on Sunday again.
With only three goal involvements, one goal and two assists, in all competitions since his club-record €70 million move from Lille in July last year, more was expected of the pacy forward, whose dazzling displays for club and country endeared him to the Napoli side to splash that much to get his services.
Now that the team needs his input in front of goal to maintain their upward trend and remain in the UEFA Champions League places at the top of the fiercely contested Serie A table, Osimhen is out of contention again and, as before, it is uncertain for his long he will be on the sidelines, though he is no more unconscious.
Napoli’s record signing is doubtful for the return leg against Granada, this Thursday at their Stadio Diego Armando Maradona where they will, in his absence, try to undo the two goal deficit, from the first leg in Granada, that they carry into the game as part of the aggregate score.
There might also be consequences for Nigeria’s Super Eagles squad as well. If the 22-year-old has not returned to competitive football by March, it could create a gap in the attack lineup of German coach Gernot Rohr, who is set to name the forward in his team for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers next month.