Antonio Conte's Chelsea transfer plan could hand Enzo Maresca £110m Victor Osimhen gift

Victor Osimhen
-Credit: (Image: Emmanuele Ciancaglini)

The race to sign Napoli striker Victor Osimhen could take yet another twist in the coming weeks should former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte take over the Italian side.

Osimhen remains one of the most in-demand centre-forwards ahead of the transfer window despite struggling to maintain his form from the 2022/23 season. After netting 26 goals in 32 Serie A appearances to lead the Naples side to the league title, Osimhen managed just 17 goals in all competitions in his following campaign.

Napoli owner Aurelio de Laurentiis has confirmed that the 25-year-old will be leaving the club this summer. Chelsea and Arsenal have both been credited with strong interest, although Paris Saint-Germain are expected to be in the running following Kylian Mbappe's exit.

However, the future of Osimhen could depend on Conte. The Italian is expected to join Napoli as head coach and return to football after leaving Tottenham Hotspur over 12 months ago.

According to Italian news outlet Corriere Della Sera, Romelu Lukaku is being lined-up as Conte's replacement for Osimhen. The striker scored 21 times in 47 games for Roma last season and isn't expected to stay at Chelsea this summer.

The imminent appointment of Enzo Maresca could change that but Lukaku has dropped countless hints over his preference to leave the West Londoners permanently. Reports have previously stated that the Belgium international could be available for around £37m.

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Osimhen's €130m (£110.7m) release clause is expected to be too much for Chelsea to activate so a potential player-plus-cash exchange with Lukaku going the other way could present an opportunity.

The finances involved are likely to be a concern and it's not yet clear whether the next Blues boss will want to sign Osimhen. However, if Todd Boehly can construct a deal to sell Lukaku and bring Osimhen in, it's the best of both worlds.