Fans are speculating that Napoli players are intentionally starving Super Eagles striker Victor Osimhen of service and here are the likely reasons they aren't passing to him
Victor Osimhen has not had a great start to the 2023/24 season so far by his own very high standards but has still managed to contribute six goals in 13 appearances for Napoli.
The Nigerian striker is currently averaging a goal every 123 minutes so far this season which is in stark contrast to last season when he scored once every 97 minutes in 39 games across all competitions.
Fans on social media have an interesting theory on Osimhen's goalscoring troubles as the 24-year-old has not scored in his last six games for Napoli. The theory suggests Osimhen's drought is because his Napoli teammates are intentionally starving him of the ball.
23:54 - 03.12.2023
It’s time to leave - Nigerians urge Osimhen to quit Napoli after teammates refused to pass the ball to him
Fans of Super Eagles striker Victor Osimhen have asked him to leave Napoli after it appears his teammates are refusing to play the ball to him.
While there is no way to prove its intentionality, stats suggest that Osimhen is indeed being starved of goalscoring opportunities with only 6.25 xG in 10 Serie A games from which he has scored six goals.
However unlikely it may be that Osimhen's teammates are intentionally not passing him the ball, the possibility is still worth exploring and here are three reasons it could be happening if true.
3 reasons Napoli players are allegedly refusing to pass the ball to Victor Osimhen on purpose
Fractured relationship with teammates
Back in September, following the TikTok scandal, Osimhen took out his frustration on his teammates for the club's actions.
In his first public appearance since the incident, Osimhen arrived at the team hotel ahead of a Serie A game against Udinese and kept his head down, ignoring some of his teammates.
This was after his agent had threatened legal action against Napoli following two TikTok videos posted by the Partenopei that infuriated Osimhen.
One can only assume from the outside looking in that this caused a rift between Osimhen and his teammates and is a possible motive for them allegedly not passing to him.
Napoli are preparing for life after Osimhen
It's no secret that Victor Osimhen's days at Napoli are numbered as he is in demand by big clubs around Europe.
Perhaps this is Napoli's way of easing their over-reliance on the superstar striker, learning to play without him to ease the impact of when they actually lose him.
This is already being proven from a coaching perspective with backup strikers Giacomo Raspadori and Giovanni Simeone both getting a lot more game time this season albeit mostly due to Osimhen's injury worries.
But even when he's fit and playing, Osimhen is averaging 74 minutes per game this season, meaning he almost always gets subbed off even when Napoli still needs a goal.
Osimhen's teammates are jealous
Again, there's no empirical way to prove this so it remains nothing but mere speculation but the human factor of jealousy could also be a reason Osimhen is not receiving passes from his teammates.
Osimhen has earned the love and adulation of the city of Naples since arriving for a club record fee in the summer of 2020.
His role in winning the Scudetto for the first time in 33 years was Maradona-esque and he is placed on a similar pedestal as the legendary Argentine which is typically a recipe for jealousy.
As much as they are teammates, there is also a silent rivalry ongoing mostly between Victor Osimhen and Kvicha Kvaratskhelia in the battle to be the face of the team.
This is emphasized even more by Kvaratskhelia winning the Serie A Player of the Season last campaign while Osimhen recently won the AIC version of the same award, voted for by Italian players.
08:24 - 05.12.2023
Osimhen gets revenge on Kvara as Italian footballers vote him the 2022/23 Serie A Player of the Year
Super Eagles star Victor Osimhen gets revenge on Napoli teammate Kvicha Kvaratskhelia by winning the Italian Footballers' Association (AIC) Player of the Year award
So in crucial situations, Kvara shoots at goal by himself from odd angles instead of finding Osimhen like he did with regularity last season.
Bear in mind these are just speculations anyway, there is no proof that Napoli players are intentionally starving Osimhen of the ball.