Erling Haaland Victor OsimhenGetty/GOAL

How Napoli missed out on Haaland & signed Osimhen instead with deal ‘done’ for Norwegian striker

  • Serie A giants explored agreement with Salzburg
  • Ended up landing Nigerian striker
  • One that got away now in the Premier League

WHAT HAPPENED? The Norwegian striker has become one of the hottest properties in world football, with his star having been on the rise for some time. It was during a stint with Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg that he started to appear on the radar of Europe's top sides, with Napoli convinced that they had an agreement in place for Haaland before being forced to turn their attention to Nigeria international Victor Osimhen.

WHAT THEY SAID: Napoli sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli has told Corriere dello Sport of his “biggest regret” in the transfer market: The contract with Salzburg was done already, we would have paid his €25m clause. He and Osimhen were our priorities and when Haaland opted for Borussia Dortmund, we went for Victor. To us, they were on the same level.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Napoli ended up having to splash out a club-record €70 million (£61m/$73m) on Osimhen, rather than €25m (£22m/$26m) on Haaland, but have found considerable value in that deal as the 23-year-old frontman catches the eye in Naples.

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Erling Haaland Man city 2022-23Getty Images

Victor Osimhen Napoli.Getty Images.

WHAT NEXT? Osimhen has hit 10 goals for Napoli this season, helping them to the top of the Serie A table, while Haaland has been a revelation in the Premier League for City and has found the target on 23 occasions across all competitions.