Napoli's Osimhen admits MLS preference over Saudi Pro League

Posted Friday, October 27, 2023 by ESPN

Napoli forward Victor Osimhen has said he would rather play in MLS than in the Saudi Pro League if offered the "same conditions".

Osimhen, 24, had a lucrative offer from Saudi side Al Hilal this summer that was reportedly rejected by Napoli.

"I am happy at Napoli," Osimhen said in a Twitch interview with Emiliano Viviano and former Italy forward Mario Balotelli.

"People don't know how difficult it is to play in Serie A. From a tactical and physical point of view, it's one of the most difficult leagues to play in."

Asked if he would rather play in the MLS or Saudi Pro League if given the same conditions, Osimhen said: "If I had the same conditions, I would go to MLS."

Napoli's Osimhen admits MLS preference over Saudi Pro League
Victor Osimhen received a lucrative offer from Saudi side Al Hilal over the summer

Osimhen did, however, praise the Saudi Pro League.

Since the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo to Al Nassr in January, the Saudi league has attracted some of the sport's biggest names, including 2022 Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema and Brazilian forward Neymar Jr.

Last summer, Saudi clubs spent almost $1 billion, acquiring 94 overseas players from Europe's major leagues.

"They are trying to develop their league, which is good," Osimhen said.

"One [Ronaldo] of the greatest of all time has gone there. Because of his [Ronaldo's] influence, they have attracted a lot of talented players to also go there. So for me it's really good, they are trying to build their league into one of the best. For me they are doing something amazing."

Osimhen has yet to make a decision about his future. Despite months of ongoing talks over a contract extension, the Nigeria international has yet to put pen to paper on a new deal with his current agreement expiring in June 2025.

Napoli remain hopeful that Osimhen will sign a new deal despite the club claiming that the player is having "second thoughts" about continuing at the club beyond 2025.

"After a long negotiation, culminating with a handshake that confirmed the desire to continue the relationship, Victor had second thoughts," a Napoli statement said on Oct. 20.

Osimhen, who joined Napoli in the summer of 2020 from Lille, scored 31 goals last season to help them win the Serie A title for the first time in 33 years.

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