After Victor Osimhen’s first season at Napoli, I remember respected Italian journalist, Gianluca Di Marzio coming out to criticise the Nigerian striker for failing to justify the hefty price tag that made him move from Lille to Napoli.
I was one of the few who came out to challenge Di Marzio reminding him that it was Osimhen’s first season in Italy and it was not unusual for a player to struggle in his first season playing for a new club in a new country.
Three years after moving to Naples, Osimhen has become Nigeria’s most prolific goalscorer in Serie A history with 31 goals, the same as Simeon Nwankwo though he achieved this feat in 59 matches as compared to Simy’s 101 matches.
He is also the first Nigerian to score a hat-trick in the Italian Seria A with the 3 goals he bagged against Sassuolo over the weekend which also took him to the top of the Seria A top scorers chart.
While Osimhen has become a name to reckon with, you and I know that he is still miles behind Erling Braut Haaland who is a year younger than him as the best striker in the world. Then, what can Osimhen do to reach the level of Norwegian?
The first thing he has to do to become a deadly striker like Haaland is to improve his shooting accuracy which I have highlighted in the past as the key reason behind Haaland overtaking Lewandowski and Benzema as Europe’s deadliest striker.
In contrast, Erling Haaland has taken 45 shots in the English Premier League this season, 55.6% of these shots have been on target. He averages 2.45 shots on target per game and 0.60 of his shots have found the back of the net.
When a player shoots well, he stands a very good chance of scoring many goals without considering extraneous factors like a goalkeeper having a good day or being unlucky in front of goal. If Osimhen can improve his shooting accuracy, he will score more.
Another aspect of Osimhen’s game that needs improving is his involvement in the build-up. Luciano Spalleti, Napoli’s manager said about Osimhen after the Roma game where he also netted the only goal for the Serie A’s table toppers
“ at times he tries to do everything himself, attacks the ball and the goal without realising where his teammates are…”
A good striker must not only be a consumer by scoring goals but must also be a producer by being involved in the build-up. Osimhen must learn to play with his teammates, he is strong enough to hold up play, thus he can do better linking up with his teammates when the team is on the attack.
This season, Victor Osimhen averages 2.50 shot-creating actions per game (that is, the last two offensive actions, be it a pass, a dribble or a foul won) and has 1 assist while Erling Haaland averages 2.54 shot-creating actions and he has 3 assists this season.
Lastly, Osimhen has to stay fit. The best asset for any player is his availability. No matter how good a player is, if he is persistently injured, he is useless to his team. Since moving to Naples, Osimhen has missed 37 games due to injuries, which is equivalent to missing a whole league season. This has to change for Osimhen to become one of the best strikers in Europe.
If Victor Osimhen can stay fit and better his shooting accuracy and his build-up play, he will not only be able to go toe-to-toe with Haaland as the best striker in the world but also be one of the world’s best strikers.