Arsenal linked to SHOCK swap for want-away Osimhen


Okay, so it’s an international break, which means that any substantive news will be hard to come by. In that vein, the latest scurriulous rumour has us offering Gabriel Jesus (and cash) to Napoli to prise Victor Osimhen away after a truly bizarre TIktok scandal seems to have burned any bridges between the club and player. In the absence of anything else to discuss during the fortnight (for the younger one among us, that means “two weeks”), let’s indulge this latest silly salvo, shall we?

First, the scandal. For reasons that beggar belief, Napoli posted to Tiktok a truly weird clip in which Osimhen is clamouring for a penalty, with a cartoonishly fast commentary dubbed over in which he appears to beg, like a chipmunk on crack, for that penalty. The fact that he went on to miss the penalty only salts the wounds. The fact that a club would take a nick out of its own player—and to do so in racially overloaded tones—is jaw-dropping. Thierry Henry called it “wrong on every level…comparing a black guy to a coconut, where I come from, you get punched in the nose”. Osimhen’s agent has threatened legal action, and it would seem that the player’s time at the club will come to an end sooner rather than later, with the January window looming.

The question then becomes, should Arsenal move for Osimhen? We’ve been linked to the Nigerian for several years now, and we’ve craved a clinical finisher for just as long. For those wondering about his finishing, he scored 26 goals in Serie A last season, with just two of those coming from the spot. He added five more in Champions League play, suggesting that he can in fact perform at the highest levels even if he was scoring against second-tier opponents (Ajax, Eintracht Frankfurt, and AC Milan).

Jesus has been quite good in many areas, notably pressing and versatility, but he hasn’t quite kicked on in the one area we’ve needed and hoped for: scoring goals. While he’s been a touch better than Richarlison in that area, he’s hardly set the Prem alight. On the other hand, he’s shown his ability to play across the front line and has energised our attack as a result. In 42 appearances, he’s scored 14 goals and added eight assists. Those are, at a risk of slighting the man, barely Walcottian numbers (Waltcott-esque?). Of course, the goals contributions amount to just one metric of his value, albeit a very valuable one. Still, it’s hard to feel that Jesus has lived up to his billing. If Napoli are open to a swap. we might do well by ourselves to at least consider it.

One downside would be that Osimhen is cup-tied, having featured in Champions League fixtures already. Assuming that we’d send Jesus in exchange, we’d be left with Nketiah as our only out-and-out striker for subsequent UCL fixtures going forward (assuming we progress from the group stage, of course). While it’s true that we could deploy Havertz there, one barrier to his development and integration has been his deployment to innumerable positions. I feel like I’m peeling an onion here. Too many layers.

For myself, I have to admit to wondering whether Osimhen might be just too much a prima donna to be worth it. Say what you will about Jesus’s goals production; he’s a team-first player. It’s hard to know where Osimhen fits on that spectrum. We’ve seen our share of narcissistic, me-first but prolific scorers (Exhibit A: Aubameyang). There are rumours and innuendoes that suggest that Osimhem’s attitude could be a problem, and he certainly wouldn’t be the first player who let his attitude outstrip his ability. Could—or would—Arteta reign him in? The Spaniard has shown that he won’t tolerate divas, be they Guendouzi or Ozil or Aubameyang.

Should Arteta deem Osimhen worth a roll of the dice, even at the cost of losing Jesus, I have to feel it would be worth it. What say you? Is it worth swapping a team-first player who hasn’t been scoring as often as we’d like for a me-first player who scores as often as we’d like?

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10 thoughts on “Arsenal linked to SHOCK swap for want-away Osimhen

  1. Palladio43

    I think the matter of being cup-tied sways any argument for considering such a swap away from making it. As you wrote, one is a “team player” and one may well continue to be a “me player”. MA has little or no patience for the latter and will dump him long before he ever tries or succeeds in remolding him.
    Some other club may take the chance, e g , Chelsea, but any success may run the same risks. They may be willing to risk the cash as they have proven with mixed to no success, but we will not. On the other hand, a swap of Eddie for Victor, however doubtful, might have merit, so long as his presence does not rot the fruit from the inside.

  2. Palladio43

    But, of course, if money was no obstacle and no bidding war ensues, I would opt for Toney and not this trade. His problem is a different matter and he may already have learned his lesson

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      I’m going to explore the Toney topic in my next post. It would be a wild scenario to see us finagle Osimhen away from Napoli with an offer of cash and Nketiah.

  3. jw1

    Jesus is one of the best– if not THE best, pressing forward in world football. He’s at the heart of the team, both as a facilitator and a generator of chaos in attack. A talisman to his teammates. A swap is no-go by me.

    Offer Eddie and one of Reiss Nelson/Fabio Vieira/ESR instead.

    1. Palladio43

      At least on site I saw argues for Victor but not persuasively. With the exception of number of goals scored (clearly not in Jesus’ favor), the other arguments are matches lost due to injury (virtually the same) and age (Victor is 2 years younger). Jw1, you make a better point and yours is a better trade deal although I would opt for Toney anyway although I suspect bidding will raise the price above 60M

      1. jw1

        The argument for Ivan Toney over Victor Osimhen might be two-fold. First, Toney is PL-tested– plus, it’s rare to see a Serie A striker come to the PL and hit the ground running. Second, David Raya and Toney already have the established chemistry to do what Arteta would want to see in terms of long passing. That’s a good fit.

        The questions remain–
        Can Toney press at least as well as Eddie Nketiah?
        It’s an Arteta requisite. No one comes in, up front, unless they can chase all day.

        Can Toney overcome his urge to gamble on football?
        That’s unknown.
        Do Arteta and Edu sign off on the risk of it backfiring?

        1. A Simple Truth

          I do concur with your Toney sentiments…even though I personally believe that Osimhen is the better player, Toney’s better suited for our particular brand of football…unfortunately we won’t be able to package up some sort of viable swap deal with Brentford due to our ridiculous wage practices, as I would gladly give them both Havertz and Eddie for their presently suspended Striker

        2. Jon Shay Post author

          I’m going to take a look at Toney in my next post in a few hours. I think Toney presses at least as well as Nketiah if not quite as well as Jesus, who, as you say, is among the best pressing forwards in the Prem.

          I gotta think Edu and Arteta would grill Toney on the gambling, insisting that he’s learned his lesson while also mandating some kind of counseling. Gambling at that level is rarely just an idle hobby and could be a sign of a kind of addiction.

          The fact that Toney is more of a known quantity in the Prem is a big consideration. Our dealing with Brentford over Raya seemed to go over smoothly enough to offer a degree of hope that they’d be open to discussing Toney’s availability.

  4. A Simple Truth

    this has nothing to do with the players in question and everything to do with MA’s tactical shortcomings, full-stop…his wide-side focused, sideways passing predilictions, make no sense for a more direct player of Osimhen’s ilk…now if Edu grew a pair, pursued this acquisitional course, then pressured MA into injecting some much-needed directness into our tactical script, I would think vastly differently, but I get the feeling that in this particular duo the tail wags the dog…furthermore, the very notion of Eddie being our 1st choice Striker option abroad makes me throw-up in my mouth a little bit…that said, if the Lens affair is any indication of what’s to come, that might be a moot point

  5. reg

    The whole thing reeks of clickbait to me. The last time Arsenal swapped players was Alexis Sanchez for Mkhitaryan with Man U. It didn’t work for either team.
    I’m not an Nketia fan – he has not lived up to his U21 years for England or Arsenal. It seems like we have ten and a half men on the pitch with him playing. He doesn’t appear to show the humility that Saka does and that may be his problem.
    Toney has had his problems not with his playing but gambling. If we signed him he would surely know he would be toast under Arteta so that might make him toe the line.


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