Lille Metropole of France striker, Victor Osimhen is reviving memories of the early days of Brazilian ace, Neymar and Colombia’s Radamel Falcao in the French Ligue 1, as he has scored the same number of goals both icons notched after their first nine games in the European nation.
Osimhen’s 79th minute goal last weekend, which helped Lille get a 2-2 draw with Nimes, was his seventh in nine matches during his ongoing debut season in Ligue 1, where he is now the leading scorer heading into the second international break of the campaign.
The 20-year-old Osimhen, who scored all seven goals at Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Villeneuve d’Ascq as well as one in the UEFA Champions League 2-1 loss to Chelsea at same venue, was named best player of the month for September, and presented with the plaque before Sunday’s game against Nimes, after which his performance helped him hit more talking points among fans and in the media, who are now rating him on the scale with the achievements of Neymar and Falcao
Just as Osimhen is now doing, Falcao, during his debut season in France back in 2013, also struck seven goals in his first nine games, as he was on song against Ginrondins-Bordeaux, Montpellier, Olympique Marseille, Lorient, PSG and a brace versus SC Bastia, while Neymar did same during the 2017/2018 season against Guingamp, Toulouse (2), Metz, Bordeaux (2) and Marseille in his first nine matches for PSG, after his arrival from Barcelona of Spain.
Dramatically, after going home with his club’s best player award for the past month, Osimhen is now on course to get the overall equivalent in the league, but is up against AS Monaco’s Islam Slimani and FC Nantes’ Nicolas Pallois for the Ligue 1 top star’s gong of September.
This comes after Osimhen scored twice in four Ligue 1 appearances for Lille during the month in review, as he notched in a 2-1 win against Angers and 2-0 victory at home to Strasbourg, while Slimani hit the net three times for Monaco during same period and has scored four goals in six appearances for the Principality club.
On his part, Pallois, who is a teammate of Super Eagles’ winger, Moses Simon at Nantes, played a key role in his club’s surge to second position in the French top-flight league’s table, such that he is also a credible choice to tango Osimhen in the race to corner the Ligue 1’s best player prize, for which fans have until midnight of this Saturday to vote for their preferred choice as the winner.
Osimhen has been turning heads since his summer transfer to The Great Danes from Sporting Charleroi of Belgium and, after netting for the Eagles in last month’s friendly against Ukraine, the former VfL Wolfsburg of Germany attacker will be expected to replicate his fine form for Nigeria when they take on Brazil in an international friendly on Sunday.
As the buzz continues swirling round Osimhen, Lille’s sporting director, Luis Campos has revealed that he was on the striker’s trail for about four years, before eventually signing him for the club in the summer transfer window.
The Lille buff, who is also credited with promoting the like of Kylian Mbappe, Nicolas Pepe, James Rodriguez, Anthony Martial, Fabinho, Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy, recalled further that he first tried to sign Osimhen the lad top scored at Chile 2015 FIFA U17 World Cup, but disclosed that his club could not afford a move, suich that he is now thrilled to finally have his elusive ‘Cat.’
Campos told Sky Sports: ”I went to see the U17 World Championships. After one match I wanted him. But his price was very expensive for a 17-year-old. I spoke to my CEO. I called him every night saying, ‘Please give me this player, he is amazing. In two years he will be one of the best in Europe.’
“In the end the player went to Wolfsburg. I went to Wolfsburg just to see him play. Sometimes he only played for five minutes, sometimes only two. I was crazy for him! Then he had a virus and had five or six months not playing and went to Charleroi in Belgium. Two months later I signed him. So itʼs a nice story. I lost the player but then got him back.
”If all is normal at the end of the season there will be a big move for him because he’s like a cat. You know, if you have a cat and give it a ball! Heʼs unbelievable. In the last 20 metres he attacks every ball. Every ball. Like a cat.”
In response to the gorwing acclaim trailing him in France, Osimhen issued a simple phrase, ass he vowed: “I just want to keep scoring goal and do better for my team.”