Victor Osimhen has qualities to ‘thrive’ in Premier League – Emmanuel Adebayor

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Player of the year award accepted by Victor Osimhen of Nigeria during the 2023 CAF Awards held in Marrakech, Morocco on 11 December 2023©Nour Aknajja/BackpagePix

Former Arsenal and Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor believes African Footballer of the Year Victor Osimhen possesses all the attributes required to “thrive” in the Premier League.

Nigeria front man Osimhen, who won the prestigious continental award in December, has become one of the hottest properties on the transfer market.

This is ostensibly on the strength of his stellar 2022-23 season, when his 26 goals saw him finish as top scorer in Italy’s Serie A and helped end a 33-year league title drought for Napoli.

Last month the 25-year-old extended his contract with the club until 2026, but that is unlikely to ward off suitors such as Arsenal and Chelsea who retain significant interest in his services.

“He has the right attitude, mentality and determination to excel there (in England),” former Togo captain Adebayor told BBC Sport Africa.

“I’m praying for him to move to the Premier League and show what he’s capable of.”

The Premier League was dominated by African strikers in the mid to late 2000s, with the likes of Adebayor, Didier Drogba and Yakubu headlining for some of the biggest clubs in the division.

The continent’s representation up front has thinned out significantly since then, and although both Mohamed Salah and former Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane sit atop the list of Africa’s highest scorers in the Premier League, neither is an out-and-out centre-forward in the traditional sense.

Osimhen idolised Ivory Coast striker Drogba growing up and has also made no secret of his desire to play in the Premier League in the future.

While Osimhen’s contract extension – along with his involvement at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast – is expected to keep interested parties at bay this month, the end of this season will no doubt see a number of clubs come in for the Napoli marksman.

Adebayor thinks the time is right for the Nigerian, who he affectionately referred to as his “younger brother”, to move to England and take up the mantle of the great African strikers from years gone by.

“The Premier League is the toughest and best (league) in the world,” Adebayor said.

“Osimhen has shown and done it already in Italy, I think it is the right time for him to move to England and replace his idol Drogba and do beautiful things.

“He has all it takes to make a name and write a great chapter in England like Drogba.”

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