Tuesday November 17 2020
How will Napoli replace Osimhen?

While there are suggestions Victor Osimhen could be out for anything from weeks to months, Napoli consider how to approach Milan in his absence.

The striker dislocated his shoulder while on international duty and the Nigerian federation said he will be out for “several weeks.”

However, Napoli sources are more cautious and want to get him tested at the Villa Stuart sports clinic in Rome before judging the extent of the injury.

“An MRI is fundamental to understand the seriousness of a dislocated shoulder,” explained former Napoli chief medic Alfonso De Nicola on Radio Kiss Kiss.

“It depends on if it’s a sub-dislocation or a more damaging dislocation, in which case it could require surgery and two to three months out.”

Osimhen cannot return to Italy until he has passed a COVID-19 test, but it seems highly unlikely he will be available against Milan this weekend.

With that in mind, coach Gennaro Gattuso must decide whether to stick with the 4-2-3-1 formation or go to his old 4-3-3.

The most probable option is for Dries Mertens to move up into the centre-forward role, with support from Piotr Zielinski, Hirving Lozano and Lorenzo Insigne.

Andrea Petagna is a very different type of forward to Osimhen, but as Milan have defenders who are very strong in the air like Simon Kjaer and Alessio Romagnoli, it’d make more sense for Napoli to focus on attacking with pace and the ball to feet.

Mertens is on fine form and scored a sensational free kick in Belgium’s 2-0 Nations League victory over England.

Petagna would therefore be a more suitable alternative when trying to 'batter down' more defensive sides lower down the standings.

Matteo Politano and Eljif Elmas are also candidates to step in for the supporting trio, should the 4-2-3-1 formation remain intact.

Gattuso seems reticent to use Mertens and Petagna together, as he'd then have nobody to come off the bench and shake things up.