Victor Osimhen wants out of Napoli. I don't know if this is clear to everybody else, but I've suspected it for a while, and this week's TikTok fiasco has only confirmed my suspicions. If you haven't heard the story, this week's soccer drama involves.
I have not seen the video. I cannot speak to what was in it. From what I've been told, it was a video of Osimhen asking an official for a penalty, as players often do, and then missing the penalty. Osimhen didn't appreciate it and was so offended that his agent released a public statement threatening a lawsuit against the team.
The video had already been removed, but it didn't stop the controversy, particularly when Napoli was already off to a slow start under new manager Rudi Garcia, and Osimhen was visually upset with Garcia for being subbed off in the same match he missed the penalty. Napoli has since issued a public apology to Osimhen, and I'm assuming it has fired or at least reprimanded whoever is running the team's social media accounts.
Anyway, it's all stupid, but it's clear to me that Osimhen has been draping the crepe for an exit. Napoli has been trying to sign him to an extension for a while, and even though there were multiple reports about how close it was to being completed in August, it hasn't been signed. This after a summer full of reported interest in Osimhen from clubs around Europe, though Napoli publicly said they never received an offer lucrative enough to accept. I don't know about you, but any time there are reports of the world's wealthiest teams being interested, but the team that has never been shy about selling its stars when the money is right says there weren't significant enough offers, I default to assuming the agent is floating those rumors.
Combine those rumors with the lack of signature on a new contract, and then the threat of a lawsuit over a TikTok video, and, well, I have a tough time believing Osimhen will still be playing for Napoli in February.
AC Milan vs. Lazio
Date: Saturday, Sept. 30 | Time: 12 p.m. ET | Watch: Paramount+
Lazio burned me last week with a 1-1 draw against Monza, but this isn't a revenge play. Lazio has already bounced back with a 2-0 win over Torino earlier this week. Instead, this play is about how much different Lazio have looked on the road compared to at home. They've played their last three matches at home, but before that, they played three of their first four on the road and were much worse defensively. Even in a 2-1 win over Napoli, they were outplayed, losing the xG battle 1.3-0.6.
In three road matches, they've allowed six goals, and now they're facing a Milan team that has looked incredible in every match, but their 5-1 loss to Inter. They've outscored opponents 12-3 in their other six matches, and even in the 0-0 draw against Newcastle United (the only match of the other six Milan didn't win), they beat United 1.9-0.3 on xG. Milan are yet to allow more than 0.6 xG in any home match and should have better luck finding the back of the net in this one. The Pick: AC Milan (-130)
Everton vs. Luton Town
Date: Saturday, Sept. 30 | Time: 10 a.m. ET | Watch: Peacock
Good news, Everton fans: after two nervy seasons, I'm confident you won't have to worry about relegation this year. That doesn't mean you're finishing in the top half, but from what I've seen of this team and the rest of the Premier League, Everton should feel comfortable come the end of February. Yes, they're in 15th right now and have won only one of their first six matches, but that win came on the road last week against Brentford. And it was followed with another road win over Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday. The glaring defensive miscues of the early part of the season have become fewer and further between, and Everton are an improving squad.
More than all of that, however, they're playing Luton Town Saturday. Luton Town are one of the reasons I'm confident Everton won't sweat relegation because they're one of the teams I'm reasonably confident will occupy one of those three doomsday spots. The Hatters looked feisty in a 1-1 draw with Wolves last week but lost to Exeter City in the Carabao Cup this week and just look overwhelmed against Premier League teams. They've been outscored 8-1 in three road matches in the Premier League and should struggle to find solid footing at Goodison Park this weekend. The Pick: Everton (-165)
Atalanta vs. Juventus
Date: Sunday, Oct. 1 | Time: 12 p.m. ET | Watch: Paramount+
I'm not sold on Atalanta. They're off to a strong start and find themselves in the top four starting the week, but the boys from Bergamo haven't played the most difficult schedule to start the season. Fiorentina is the toughest team they've faced, and they lost. You can argue the win over Sassuolo was impressive, but while Sassuolo's flirting with the European spots, they're doing so with a negative goal differential.
Also, while this match is at home (both Atalanta's losses have come away from Bergamo), it's also Atalanta's fifth match in 15 days. Juventus will be better rested and playing only their fourth match in 16 days. Granted, Juventus' schedule hasn't been much more difficult than the one Atalanta has played, but Juve are the more talented team in the matchup. I'm fine with Atalanta being favored, but I can't pass up Juve at the price we're getting. The Pick: Juventus (+180)
We're going for a bigger score this week with this four-leg parlay paying +225.
- Manchester City (-310)
- Newcastle United (-320)
- Inter (-245)
- Atletico Madrid (-300)