Arsenal’s hopes of signing Gonzalo Higuain appear to be fading with Real Madrid now reportedly having slapped a €40 million (£34.4m) price tag on the unsettled striker. Arsenal are thought to have provisionally agreed personal terms for the Argentinean, but the two clubs have as yet been unable to see eye-to-eye on a fee. And with Madrid’s new valuation it is hard to envisage that happening. Juventus had also agreed personal terms with the player before deciding his price was too high and switching their attentions elsewhere.
A further hindrance to Arsenal completing a deal is fresh competition for the 25-year-old’s signature. According to Spanish publication AS, Chelsea are now firmly interested, with Higuain reported to have told his closest advisers: “Mourinho wants me there.” Mourinho, of course, took charge of Higuain for three years in Madrid and their relationship is thought to be good with the Portuguese persuading the player to remain in the Spanish capital for an extra season when he wanted out last summer.
Like Juventus, Arsenal also seem to be turning to what they feel is greater value for money elsewhere. And that may well be with Liverpool forward Luis Suarez. Having already had a bid of £30 million rejected, the Daily Mirror reports that Arsenal are willing to return with an offer of £40 million.
That would trigger a clause in the Uruguayan’s contract, although there is some dispute about the exact nature of it. Suarez’s representatives appear to be making noises that if the clause is met Liverpool would have to sell, whereas the club insist that it would only require them to inform the player of the offer. The Mirror does, though, believe, that Arsenal are the front runners for Suarez’s signature with main competitors Madrid not willing to spend more than £25 million on the 26-year-old.
Arsenal also have another option up their sleeve with Arsene Wenger continuing to express an interest in Wayne Rooney. The forward appears to be increasingly moving toward the exit at Manchester United following reports that he is “angry and confused” by his treatment at the club. Chelsea have fired the a shot across the bow with a rejected bid and Wenger has again insisted that Arsenal are realistic challengers for the England international’s signature.
"It happened to us last year and it can happen to them," Wenger said, according to Sky Sports, comparing Rooney’s situation to that which saw Robin van Persie leave the Emirates for Manchester United last summer. "Rooney is under contract and has two years to go so it's United who make the decision. But we would not have a problem with the wages of Rooney."
Former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has also been in the news this week, with Manchester United bidding €30 million (£25.8m) for the Barcelona midfielder. The Gunners had a first refusal clause inserted into the deal that took Fabregas to the Camp Nou in 2011 and Wenger has said that he would certainly be interested were the 26-year-old to become available. However, he does not envisage that happening this summer.
“Fabregas has decided to stay one more year at Barcelona," Wenger said, according to ESPN. "Unless he has changed his mind, I don't know... but that's what I've been told. We have the [first-option] clause in the contract so we would be on alert but at the moment that's not something we're after.”