£70m player who was locked in hotel room to stop him signing for Liverpool could win huge honour today
In another reality today would have been all about Mohamed Salah and Egypt. With the African Cup of Nations final set to take place – Salah and his side were one of the favourites to go all the way. But Salah picked up an injury, and his team crashed out in the early rounds of the tournament.
Instead tonight will see Nigeria take on hosts Ivory Coast in what is expected to be a thrilling encounter between two giants of African football. It’s also going to be an encounter between two relatively young sides.
And young stars who will be determined to make their mark on the competition. Among them will be Africa’s biggest talent right now – Victor Osimhen. Who if things may have turned out different could have played under Jurgen Klopp in the past.
Victor Osimhen looking to win AFCON
Before Victor Osimhen signed for Napoli, Liverpool were also in the race for his signature. Back then Napoli director Cristiano Giuntoli ‘locked’ Osimhen inside a hotel to persuade him to join Napoli instead of a move to Anfield.
That is according to Giandomenico Costi, who worked with Giuntoli at Napoli. Cost lifted the lid on Osimhen’s move to Naples in an interview last year.
“He [Osimhen] was locked in a hotel for three days. Giuntoli knew Liverpool were interested, and Jurgen Klopp had made his move, but Cristiano spoke to Osimhen in the hotel for three days until he convinced him to accept Napoli.
“He was full of energy. Giuntoli is a director who would call you 100 times a day. He knew Victor very well, he had even followed him at Charleroi.”
If only that hadn’t happened Osimhen could have easily ended-up at Liverpool. Back then Napoli signed the Nigerian for roughly £70m (ESPN). But now he could be on the move again. And a future move to Anfield shouldn’t be ruled out – Liverpool were reportedly interested in him back in the summer.
For now though Osimhen will only be concentrating on the African Cup of Nations – where he can write his own legacy tonight.