Osimhen to PSG transfer in limbo as Luis Enrique prefers Real Madrid star

Paris Saint-Germain, the only European club with the financial muscle to buy Victor Osimhen upfront, could be turning their attention from the Nigeria international based on the recommendation of the club’s manager Luis Enrique. The Spaniard reportedly wants Real Madrid’s Rodrygo Goes to replace Kylian Mbappe, who is set to head the other way when the summer transfer window opens.

Osimhen’s time with Napoli seems to be drawing closer to an end after the striker’s rather implicit comments about his future in recent months. Osimhen signed a five-year contract with the Italian club when he joined from Lille in 2020 and was, therefore, inching towards the last year of his contract before signing an extension in December until 2026.

The 25-year-old is now tied to Napoli for two more years, although it is believed that he only extended his contract in order for the club to raise his release clause. Osimhen is currently valued at €130 million by the Partenopei, which makes him too expensive for the majority of clubs in Europe.

Osimhen to PSG transfer in limbo due to Luis Enrique’s preference for Real Madrid star
Photo by Icon Sport

The former Wolfsburg and Royal Charleroi forward has been linked with a move to Saudi Arabia too in recent months, although he has vehemently rejected such rumours, citing a desire to continue playing in Europe despite being offered a heavy paycheck to move to the Middle East.

PSG boss Luis Enrique reportedly prefers Rodrygo to Osimhen

There are several elite clubs in Europe who would want to sign Osimhen in the summer but the striker’s high valuation means only a few can actually afford him. With Saudi Arabia out of the picture, PSG remain the most financially capable of meeting Napoli’s €130 million valuation of Osimhen.

However, the French champions are reportedly set to turn their attention to another target. According to Foot Mercato, PSG boss Luis Enrique wants to be involved in picking Kylian Mbappe’s replacement and has penned down Real Madrid youngster Rodrygo as his first choice.

Mbappe announced a few weeks ago that he was leaving PSG after spending the last seven years with the Parisians. The 25-year-old decided not to renew his contract with Enrique’s side and is expected to join Real Madrid as a free agent in the coming weeks. While Mbappe’s departure leaves a huge void to be filled, PSG have reportedly saved around €200 million from wages and loyalty bonuses that the Frenchman would’ve been due had he stayed at the club.

With the French giants now looking to replace their prized asset, Osimhen is one of the names that have been linked with the club. But Foot Mercato reports that Enrique would rather prefer Rodrygo, who is younger and also versatile enough to play across the front three positions. The PSG boss is said to be a huge fan of the Brazilian forward, which would effectively leave the club’s transfer plans for Osimhen in limbo.

How Rodrygo’s numbers compare to Osimhen’s

Rodrygo remains one of Real Madrid’s highly-valued players after Los Blancos invested heavily to sign him in 2019. The 23-year-old joined the Spanish giants in a deal worth €45 million five years ago, and spent just a few months at the reserve side before being promoted to the senior team. Despite his impressive performances, Rodrygo has struggled to break into Real Madrid’s starting line-up and only started featuring regularly following Karim Benzema’s departure at the end of the 2022/23 campaign.

The Brazil international has made 50 appearances in all competitions this season while contributing 17 goals and nine assists. In contrast, Osimhen has been involved in the same number of goals in 18 fewer games. The Napoli striker has his advantages over Rodrygo, key amongst them being that he’s a target man while the 23-year-old is more of a winger or an inside forward. Osimhen is also more clinical, as evidenced by his numbers in front of goal.

If PSG are looking for a player who will guarantee goals and play through the middle, then Osimhen should be their priority, as the club already boasts some decent wingers in the persons of Ousmane Dembele, Randal Kolo Muani, Marco Asensio and Bradley Barcola.

Osimhen’s fitness issues, which led to him missing many games last season, could be a reason why Enrique prefers Rodrygo. Alternatively, the Real Madrid star is regarded as a future Ballon d’Or winner, and if he’s available on the market, it is understandable why the PSG boss would be pushing to have him on his team.

Rodrygo signed a contract extension with Los Blancos in December 2023 which would keep him at the club until 2028, and that puts Real Madrid in a strong position to demand a hefty transfer fee even if the player wants to leave. Rodrygo is, however, the most likely to lose his position in Carlo Ancelotti’s team when Mbappe joins the 14-time UEFA Champions League winners next season.

Vinicius Jr has gained untouchable status in the team due to his consistent performances and seems set to play alongside the Frenchman in attack, while Jude Bellingham, who was recently voted as La Liga’s Player of the Season, has taken to his new advanced role quite well.

Rodrygo also recently hinted at leaving Real Madrid when he told Placar TV, as quoted by Goal: “It also depends. Of course, I want to stay here for many years. I want to be here as long as I feel that I help and I’m important to the team. And from the moment when I see that I’m no longer important, maybe it’s time to look for another place.

“I don’t think that’s what’s happening at the moment and I’m not thinking about it. I always dreamed of playing here, it was always my favourite club. I have everything here, I am making a dream come true, I am already a champion of everything and as long as I am important I want to continue here.”

Asked about a potential move to the Premier League, he added: “The Premier League is a league that everybody likes, I am not going to close doors to any other league. Everyone knows that my dream is always to play for Real Madrid — I want to be here, but everything can be discussed. But my objective is to continue here.”

While his recent interview has added further fuel to a potential move to PSG, Rodrygo said he was happy to stay at Real Madrid and denied ever wanting to leave in a post on X on Tuesday.  “A very annoying situation occurred today, where one of my interviews was completely taken out of context. To be very direct, I am VERY happy at Real Madrid, I live a dream every day and it does NOT cross my mind to leave the club of my life! Now we continue with history to make. By 15. Hala Madrid and nothing more!”

Victor Osimhen’s other options in case PSG transfer falls through

Meanwhile, Osimhen won’t be short of suitors even if PSG decide to prioritise signing Rodrygo over him this summer. The Nigeria international has established himself as one of the best strikers in the world in his time at Napoli.

After firing the Partenopei to the Serie A title last season, Osimhen became a target of several European clubs. There is currently a shortage of prolific number 9s, with the few world-class strikers around all currently unavailable on the market.

Osimhen’s desire to leave Napoli, coupled with the Italian side’s willingness to sell if a suitable offer arrives, puts the Nigerian in a unique position. Aside from PSG, Chelsea are also said to be keen on signing Osimhen. The Blues are in desperate need of a goal scorer, and according to Team Talk, have already initiated talks with Osimhen’s camp.

The problem is, unlike PSG who can afford to pay upfront for the forward, Chelsea are looking to table a player-plus-cash offer to Napoli in order not to breach the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability Rules after spending close to a billion euros in the last three transfer windows.

The silver lining is that Napoli are on the verge of appointing Antonio Conte, who is keen on signing Romelu Lukaku once he becomes the manager of the Partenopei. Lukaku is currently on loan at AS Roma but remains a Chelsea player, and that means he could be included in Chelsea’s swap deal for Osimhen, provided Napoli are ready to accept it.

Osimhen ruled out of Nigeria’s World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Benin

Osimhen’s name continues to make the headlines over where he would be heading next, but the striker is currently indisposed after suffering an injury that caused him to miss Napoli’s final two matches of the season against Fiorentina and Lecce.

Osimhen to PSG transfer in limbo due to Luis Enrique’s preference for Real Madrid star
Photo by Icon Sport

The 25-year-old has also been ruled out of Nigeria’s upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against South Africa and Benin. Osimhen was initially listed as part of Super Eagles boss Finidi George’s squad for the two games but later withdrew after it was confirmed that he would not recover in time for the assignments.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has since announced that Osimhen has been replaced in the squad by 19-year-old Kenneth Igboke, who plays for Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) side Enugu Rangers. This comes after the Napoli striker also missed the Super Eagles’ international friendlies against Ghana and Mali in March due to injury.

Nigeria are, however, well-covered in the centre-forward position following Victor Boniface’s return to the national team after helping Bayer Leverkusen win the double. George also has other talented options to pick from, including Terem Moffi, who scored 11 goals in Ligue 1 last season, and Paul Onuachu, who accounted for 17 goals for Turkish giants Trabzonspor.

Osimhen to PSG transfer in limbo as Luis Enrique prefers Real Madrid star
Emmanuel Ayamga

Emmanuel Ayamga is an Asante Kotoko fan and a passionate sports journalist with a little over five years of experience writing about African football.

His articles and features have been published in renowned news media like The Guardian, DW, Al Jazeera and Sportskeeda. His bylines can also be found in the UK journals World Soccer Magazine and These Football Times.