Jose Mourinho has worked with a couple of African players and indeed some Nigerians have been privileged to work with the flamboyant manager. From Didier Drogba to Samuel Eto’o to of course our own John Mikel Obi, Mourinho has over the years show unequivocally that he has the belief in players from this part of the world.
In a somewhat surprising manner, the newly-appointed Tottenham Hotspur boss has been linked with a move for Nigeria’s hottest property in football at the moment, Victor Osimhen. It is understood that the former Manchester United and Chelsea boss has been monitoring events at French club Lille where he has already poached two coaches Joao Sacramento and Nuno Santos to help boost his bench at Spurs.
Respected French football portal, Jeunes Footeux, who aren’t usually ones for sensational claims, report Mourinho is considering signing two Lille players: Osimhen and Boubakary Soumaré. Osimhen has been a revelation since his move from Belgium to France and he has shown great promise of even better days ahead.
The 20-year old has scored nine goals in 17 matches so far this season. He’s been playing as a center-forward, but can also go wide if needed. He has been massive for club and country this season but the question many would-be asking is if the young striker would get better with Mourinho or he should stay put at Lille at least for now.
Till date, some feel Mikel did not reach his full potential because of Mourinho. The former Nigeria captain was rated as second best only behind Lionel Messi at the U-20 World Cup where the Flying Eagles narrowly lost to Argentina in the final.
However, after completing a tortuous move to Chelsea, Mikel who was an attack-minded player with vast creativity at his feet was converted to a defensive-minded player all thanks to the Special One. Though Mikel did flourish in that role over the years, some suggest that playing for Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson may have made Mikel a better player offensively.
However for me, I feel for Mikel to have adapted to Mourinho’s style perfectly, it showed he was suited for the same and more importantly that could have accounted for the longevity that the Turkey-based midfielder has enjoyed over the years.
It would indeed be nice to see Osimhen work with Mourinho; a coach that perfectly meets his hunger and passion. The winning mentality of the Portuguese manager is legendary and it really helped in bringing out the very best from a long list of African strikers like Drogba and Eto’o among others.
While we wait to see if Spurs will splash the cash to lure Osimhen to England, the Nigerian striker who some have already been calling the new Rashidi Yekini is doing perfectly well at Lille where he was brought in to replace his African brother Pepe.
Pepe scored 35 goals in 74 appearances in the two seasons he spent at Lille before leaving for Arsenal last summer. Osimhen, who was signed to replace the Ivory Coast international, has scored seven goals in nine matches for Lille so far.
And during the international break, the former Wolfsburg striker was on target for Nigeria in the AFCON qualifiers against the Benin Republic and Lesotho respectively, helping the Super Eagles to take charge of proceedings in Group L.