Victor Osimhen’s former agent Jean-Gerard Benoit Czajka has revealed how talks with Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis and Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly changed the Lille star’s mindset about Italy.
The Nigeria international, who is said to be on the verge of moving to the Stadio San Paolo this summer, was worried by racism incidents in Serie A, and the fears initially affected his negotiations with the Parthenopeans.
Benoit Czajka, who was Osimhen’s representative until this month before they parted ways for undisclosed reasons, said the 21-year-old was even ready to turn down a bumper annual salary of €10 million from Juventus if they made a move because of his fears.
“Victor did not want to go to Italy. From the start, he has been stuck on the idea of playing in Serie A,” Benoit Czajka told France Football.
“He told me that racism issues scared him and that he didn't feel it. He even told me in March-April: "I don't want to go and play in Italy even if it's for Juventus at €10 million net per year".
“I told Victor that before having such strong ideas, that he had to travel to see for himself, meet people, talk with players who are confronted with racism, etc.
“Something that we finally did on July 1, 2 and 3 where we met the coach, the sports director, as well as the president De Laurentiis who is a man with values and experience, and who seems to have convinced the player. Victor also spoke a lot with Kalidou Koulibaly and this was decisive in his choice for Napoli.”
Osimhen enjoyed an incredible debut season in France, scoring 13 Ligue 1 goals for Lille who ended the campaign in the fourth spot before the league was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Benoit Czajka disclosed that an agreement between Lille and Napoli had been reached "a long time ago" and the French club might be unhappy with the inconclusiveness of the deal.
“We have been in contact with them since March,” he added. “With the Covid, we finally managed to see each other at the end of May, early June in Monaco with Giuntoli and then we moved with the player at the beginning of July in Naples.
“To be clear, if we go to Italy it is because the two clubs have been in agreement for a long time and they told us so. I think that Lille did not appreciate that Victor comes and comes back without having signed his contract.”