Liverpool are closing in on the appointment of Jorg Schmadtke as their new sporting director but he arrives at Anfield having dropped a clanger with one of the most sought after players in world football
Liverpool ’s new sporting director Jorg Schmadtke arrives at Anfield with one regret: selling Napoli sensation Victor Osimhen.
The former Hannover 96, FC Koln and Wolfsburg chief is set to replace Julian Ward on Merseyside. He will be tasked with spearheading the Reds’ operations in the transfer market this summer.
Schmadtke certainly has a task on his hands as he attempts to rebuild a squad that has slumped this season and will not have the draw of the Champions League on offer this summer. In slightly ominous news ahead of his arrival, the 59-year-old has already dropped a clanger with one of the most sought after front men in world football, Napoli striker Victor Osimhen.
The pair’s path crossed whilst they were at Bundesliga giants Wolfsburg. The Nigerian was not quite the ruthless striker that he has developed into currently but a youngster attempting to feel his way into the game.
He had begun his professional career with the German side, going 16 games without a goal before being allowed to join Belgian club Charleroi on a season-long loan. There, Osimhen flourished with 20 goals in all competitions during the 2018/19 campaign.
A permanent move was then quickly on the cards as Charleroi activated their £3m option to sign him. Osimhen would be on the move once more just weeks later as Lille swooped with a £19m deal.
Victor Osimhen was sold by Wolfsburg after 16 games without a goal ( Image: Getty Images)
Reflecting on the decision to let the striker leave, Schmadtke admitted he has regret over cashing in so soon. Speaking to Kicker, he said: “It wasn’t a good move, in hindsight. When I came, he [Osimhen] was limping and running in circles.
I was told that the strikers we had weren’t good enough. The most important lesson is that you have to be patient with some transfers.”
Since then, Osimhen has gone from strength to strength. An 18-goal haul in his debut season with Lille convinced Napoli to spend an eye-watering €60m (£58.9m) on him.
He has continued to score regularly with 56 goals in 99 outings for the Italian side. 28 of those have come this season and helped Napoli to end their long wait for a Serie A crown.
Suitors continue to circle – Premier League pair Manchester United and Chelsea chief among them as they look to bolster their attacking options ahead of next season. However, Napoli boss Aurelio De Laurentiis has insisted that Osimhen will stay at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
Speaking to Rai Sport earlier this month, he said: “I will not sell Victor Osimhen this summer – no way!”
Osimhen has two years left to run on his contract with Napoli and could compound Schmadtke’s regret should he move to the Premier League and potentially score against the Reds in the near future.
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