It’s that time again when we get linked with every single player the media can think of. Most are usually baseless unfounded rumours but some might have substance to them. We have been linked with players from all corners of the globe with different status levels. From the top stars such as Cavani, who would command transfer fees that could run a small country for a day, to unheard of raw talent.
This time round, though, we are in a position to discern whether the rumours being peddled around have any substance or are just fabrications by the media, in order to create stories. This is because the players themselves, their agents and the clubs they represent, are much more involved in the media, and therefore are able to quickly publicly quash or confirm any stories concerning them which have been published. Case in point, examine the Cesc Fabregas saga.
My focus for this post is on Gonzalo Higuain. He is a 25 year old Argentinian striker who plies his trade in the Spanish capital with Real Madrid (for those who may not know). The main reason why I am taking a keen look at him is because I believe there is a very real chance that he could be a gunner by the time we head to Asia for our preseason. Higuain (fondly known as ‘el pipita’ by his Argentine fans) has spent 7 years at Madrid having mixed fortunes. He signed on as 19 year old from River plate but never really made his mark in his first season. Madrid fans were calling for his dismissal from the club but Pellegrini stuck by him. His second season was a bit better but still not good enough (for a player at Real Madrid). The following season, however, was his breakout in which he scored over 20 goals for the club. Unfortunately for him, that is the season that Ramon Calderon and Manuel Pellegrini (the two men who brought him to the club) left.
When Florentino Perez was elected the new Madrid president, he brought in Ronaldo, Benzema, Kaka among others, which would see Higuain marginalized. He, however, continued to play well and even ensuring that to date, Karim Benzema has never finished higher than him in the scoring charts. In fact in the first season when Ronaldo, Benzema and Higuain played together, the Argentinian finished as Madrid’s top scorer. Perez has marginalized him, seeing him as a symbol of his predecessor’s (Calderon) reign. This is despite his obvious talent.
Higuain is a goal scorer, pure and simple. He has proven this by ensuring that beginning his 3rd season at Madrid, he has never finished with less than 10 goals regardless of his appearances. The recently concluded season, 2012-13, was one of his lowest in terms of appearances for the club (with Benzema preferred as the main striker alongside Ronaldo), yet he managed an impressive 16 goals, beating first choice Benzema yet again. To put it into perspective, it is like if Podolski had outscored Walcott.
Higuain is a world class striker and at 25 years old, he is at the prime age to join us. One thing that stands out about him is his mightily impressive shooting technique. He scores goals from all angles in front of goal you can imagine. (Have a look at this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjCDyoGSVTQ).
Also impressive, is his ambidexterity (Santi Cazorla anyone?). He is primarily right footed but can shoot and pass as well with his left foot. Higuain is fairly pacey but his speed of thought, reading of the game and general movement are the traits that make him so lethal. His ball control is also superb. He is also very strong in the air and is deceptively powerful. I say deceptively because for someone with his average frame he depends a lot on his physical strength to hold off defenders which he does very well.
The only weaknesses I can think of are: he may not be as skilled with the ball at his feet or as fast compared to his fellow striker Benzema. He used to be quite inconsistent in front of goal and his ball control at times looked suspect, but those are demons he laid to rest a long time ago.
At the end of the 2011-12 season, he handed in a transfer request but Mourinho convinced him to stay by promising a more prominent role at the club. This never came to fruition and now he is more determined than ever to leave. The two clubs after him are Arsenal and Juventus. Asked about this interest, he said that he wouldn’t mind either, even saying that Arsenal would suit him.
And I tend to agree with him. Not to say that Madrid’s midfielders are average but at Arsenal, where he would be our main man up front, his goal haul could easily pass the 30 goal mark given the calibre of players playing behind him. At Madrid, Ronaldo is the player everyone looks towards to score, which means that it is him who everybody is expected to create for.
My verdict is that we should do what is needed to bring him in. We have the advantage anyway. Perez says that 25.5 million would not be enough, but I think that he is just trying to salvage the best he can in a hopeless situation. For a player whose agent, father and he himself have publicly stated that he’s leaving, the stated amount is a very tall order. Juventus on the other hand are evidently financially inferior to us. Therefore, this should be a fairly simple transfer to pull off, IF Le Prof was to go for him.
Personally, I’d love to see it happen. Would you?
Written by: Marcus.