Many predicted that Juventus’ Duan Vlahovi would give Nigerian and Napoli striker Victor Osimhen a run for his money during the upcoming 2022–23 Italian Serie A season, and both players were predicted to compete for the league’s top scorer award at the end of the campaign, according to PUNCH Sports Extra.
That hasn’t been the case, though, as the season has halfway through.
Ademola Lookman of Atalanta, who is vying alongside Osimhen for the Paolo Rossi Award, makes it more of a Nigerian show in Italy.
The Super Eagles pair is the first player to reach ten goals in Serie A this season. Osimhen, who plays as a winger, now leads the Serie A scoring table with 13 goals from 15 league games. His countryman, who also plays as a winger, is in second place with 11 goals.
Both players have not shown any signs of slowing down and may go head-to-head until the head of the season for the goals scorer award.
In the numbers war, Osimhen and Lookman are not only competing to be the league’s top goals scorer. Both players are also tied on the same number in terms of assists (four).
The Nigerians are having a fantastic season with Napoli and Atalanta and their performances last weekend were a testament to that.
Osimhen, who has scored 11 goals in his previous 10 league games, continued to find the back of the net against Salernitana to give Luciano Spalletti’s team a two-goal lead. This comes after Osimhen scored a brace and provided another assist against Juventus on matchday 18.
After Osimhen’s spectacular performance on Saturday, Lookman went above and above the next day, scoring twice and dishing out a helper to keep his countryman in the running for the league’s top scorer honors.
After 19 games in his first Serie A season, the winger’s performance against the Bianconeri made him the fourth Atalanta player to have scored 10 or more goals. He then increased his total to 11 with a controlled header.
The only other people to accomplish the feat are Jorgen Leschly Sorensen (1949–1950), Karl Aage Hansen (1949–1950), and Poul Rasmussen (1952–1953), as Lookman continues to convince Gian Piero Gasperini of his value.
Lookman is the first Atalanta player to score braces in three straight games in all competitions since the 2006-07 season. He also helped Atalanta go undefeated in their last six Serie A matches against Juve (W2 D4), matching their longest unbeaten streak against the Bianconeri in the topflight: six matches without losing between 1963 and 1966.
Osimhen presently tops the scoring rankings, but Lookman will be a close second given his current form, and the race between the Napoli attacker and Lookman will go down to the wire.
Speaking of money, both Nigerians have experienced an increase in market value as a result of their strong season.
The former Lille striker had a price of €60 million going into the season, but after a season that has seen him presently top of the Serie A log with Napoli, the striker’s valuation now stands at €70 million, €10 million higher than what he had going into the season.
Lookman’s value has increased, and he is included in the group of players whose value has increased. Atalanta’s outstanding player is currently valued at €20 million, a significant sum considering that at the start of the season, his market value was only €9 million.