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The Nigeria international has been axed from the Parthenopeans starting line-up that will face the LaLiga side on Thursday night

Gennaro Gattuso has left Victor Osimhen out of Napoli’s starting XI to face Real Sociedad in Thursday’s Europa League Group F game, Goal understands.

The striker, who scored 18 goals in 38 appearances for the Ligue 1 side in the 2019-20 season, joined the Serie A giants in a deal reported to be worth €50 million (£45m/$59m).

However, he has made a slow start to life at Stadio San Paolo – scoring just once in four Italian topflight games – which came against Atalanta on October 17.

He made his Europa bow against Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, albeit, the Nigerian could not rescue the Blues from losing 1-0 at home.

With the Italians in dire need of victory against the Spanish topflight side at Reale Arena, manager Gattuso has made some changes to his team with 25-year-old forward Andrea Petagna taking the place of Osimhen.

Also missing in the starting XI are Dries Mertens, Hirving Lozano and Fabian Ruiz. Nevertheless, Napoli boss kept faith in Kalidou Koulibaly to anchor his defence line with goalkeeper David Ospina staying in goal.

For Imanol Alguacil’s men, Manchester City legend David Silva will start alongside Mikel Oyarzabal, Mikel Merino and Brazil‘s Willian Jose.

“It’s a really important game. There are another 15 points to play for,” Gattuso said during Wednesday’s pre-match game.

“We’ll change a few things around tomorrow but we’ll put out a very strong side.”

The 42-year-old also said his team will not worry about Silva, insisting Sociedad have got a depth of quality in their squad.

“David Silva is not the only problem we have to worry about. They have lots of good young players They’re a quality side who know how to scrap,” he continued.

“We know how we want to play tomorrow. We need to play well not just from a technical point of view but as a team.

“We have a duty to give our all in every competition. Real Sociedad play good football. It’s no coincidence they’re top of La Liga.”

Probable line-ups

REAL SOCIEDAD (4-1-4-1): Remiro; Gorosabel, Elustondo, Le Normand, Monreal; Guevara; Portu, David Silva, Merino, Oyarzabal; Willian Jose.

NAPOLI (4-2-3-1): Ospina, Di Lorenzo, Maksimovic, Koulibaly, Mario Rui; Demme, Bakayoko; Politano, Lobotka, Insigne; Petagna.

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