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Osimhen’s exit key to Lukaku’s Napoli move

Osimhen’s exit key to Lukaku’s Napoli move

The hopes of Romelu Lukaku joining Napoli this summer hang on whether the Partenopei sell Victor Osimhen, Boldsports reports. According to several Italian media outlets, the new Napoli manager, Antonio Conte, plans to make Lukaku his first signing by taking the striker off Chelsea’s hands.

Lukaku, who has two years left on his deal at Stamford Bridge, has spent the last two seasons on loan at Inter Milan and AS Roma, respectively. Conte shaped his attack at Milan around Lukaku, who scored 47 league goals across two seasons, helping them win their first Serie A title in 11 years in 2021.

Lukaku joined Chelsea for £97.5m in 2022 but struggled to repeat his feats in Italy. The Blues are keen to sell him for around £37m this summer after he spent the last two years away on loan.

Meanwhile, Lukaku has opened the door to a Saudi Pro League move but also has interest from AC Milan, Napoli, and Fenerbahce, where he could reunite with his former manager, Jose Mourinho. He turned down a move to Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal last summer and says that while there is infrastructure work to be done, he is clear that “Saudi Arabia is coming”.

In an interview with Belgian broadcasters VTM, he also declared Conte as the best coach he has worked with. At Milan, Paulo Fonseca has been appointed and has earmarked Lukaku as a target, as Olivier Giroud has left the club for LAFC in America. Mourinho has a striker on his wanted list after arriving in Turkey at the weekend, while the Saudi Pro League is still trying to sign Europe’s biggest names.

“Saudi Arabia wouldn’t stop me. The level will only increase,” said Lukaku to VTM. “To a much higher level than many people think. More and more football players will tend to play there. Also because of how the fans there experience football. The infrastructure still needs to be improved, but all major European top clubs know, ‘Saudi Arabia is coming’. You already see that in boxing, golf, Formula 1…”

Speaking of his proposed move to Al-Hilal last summer, he added, “That was really intense at the time. For two weeks. For two days in a row, I thought, ‘Yes, I’m going’, ‘No, I’m not going’.” Doubts arose because Lukaku at the time was still guessing about the level and circumstances in Saudi Arabia. “Because everyone only went to Saudi Arabia after I could sign there, I was scared for a moment.”

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