Former Arsenal and Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor is confident that Victor Osimhen, the African Footballer of the Year, possesses the qualities needed to “thrive” in the Premier League.
Osimhen, Nigeria’s front man, clinched the prestigious continental award in December and has become a sought-after talent in the transfer market. His outstanding 2022-23 season, securing the top scorer title in Italy’s Serie A with 26 goals and ending Napoli’s 33-year league title drought, has garnered significant attention.
Despite extending his contract with Napoli until 2026 last month, top English clubs such as Arsenal and Chelsea, with substantial interest in his services, remain undeterred.
Adebayor, former Togo captain, expressed optimism about Osimhen’s potential success in England, citing his “right attitude, mentality, and determination to excel there.”
“I’m praying for him to move to the Premier League and show what he’s capable of,” Adebayor added.
The Premier League, once dominated by African strikers like Adebayor, Didier Drogba, and Yakubu, has seen a decline in African representation up front. Adebayor believes Osimhen, who idolized Drogba, is poised to follow in the footsteps of great African strikers from the past.
“The Premier League is the toughest and best league in the world. Osimhen has shown and done it already in Italy; I think it is the right time for him to move to England and replace his idol Drogba and do beautiful things,” Adebayor remarked.
Reflecting on his mentor relationship with Osimhen, Adebayor mentioned, “Every time I talk to him, it’s about encouragement, and I tell him what to do and what not to do.” He expressed deep emotion when Osimhen mentioned him during the African Footballer of the Year award ceremony, considering it more beautiful than his own win.
Adebayor, who scored 97 goals in 241 Premier League appearances over a decade, emphasised the “beautiful” era for African players in English football. While acknowledging the changes over time, he believes Osimhen has the potential to continue winning awards in the future if he maintains his current trajectory.