Arsenal are closing in on the signing of Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain, with fellow suitors Juventus believed to have switched their attentions to Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez. Both clubs have been strongly linked with a move for Higuain after the Argentina international confirmed that he was looking to leave the Bernabeu this summer. But Juventus had appeared to be in pole position after meetings between officials of both clubs in Madrid last week.
Instead, the London Evening Standard reports that the Italian champions are unwilling to increase their offer of £18.75 million and have now made Tevez their priority. And now Arsenal are trying to push ahead with a deal and are said to have made an offer of £20 million. While that would, by some distance, eclipse the Gunners’ previous record transfer of £15 million paid for Andrei Arshavin in 2009, it still falls short of Juventus’ €30 million (£25.4m) asking price. However, Arsenal will feel that if they are the only bidders then it seriously strengthens their bargaining position and Madrid may be forced to accept a lower offer for a player that is keen on a move.
Both Arsenal and Juventus have also shown interest in Fiorentina forward Stevan Jovetic. The increasing pursuit of Higuain may have seen the Gunners’ attempts to sign Jovetic wane and Talksport reports that the Montenegrin’s wage demands have seen Arsene Wenger turn his attentions elsewhere.
It is claimed that Jovetic, 23, would seek £120,000 a week, which would be in excess of their current highest weekly wage of around £90,000. It is believed, though, that, with Arsenal having increased funds at their disposal, they are prepared to break their current strict wage structure. Indeed, Higuain would likely become Arsenal’s highest earner were he to sign. There is strong competition for Jovetic, though, with Chelsea and Manchester City also credited with an interest in a player who scored 13 goals in Serie A in the past season.
Arsenal are also thought to be eyeing up wingers to supply their prospective new striker. The Daily Mail reports that the Gunners are interested in Lille wide man Dimitri Payet. The 26-year-old, who plays primarily on the left flank, recently won his fifth cap for France in their friendly defeat to Brazil and scored 12 goals and contributed 13 assists in Ligue 1 last season.
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Also thought to be on Wenger’s agenda is Manchester United’s Nani. The Portugal international has been linked with a move to the Emirates in the past and he looks set to depart the Premier League champions this summer. The 26-year-old has just a year left on his contract and endured a difficult last season.
Galatasaray have already made a bid for the former Sporting Lisbon man and later revealed that they refused to meet United’s £8.5 million asking price. Juventus have also been linked, while the player is thought to have turned down a move to Russian side Zenit St Petersburg last summer. It remains to be seen whether United would be so keen to allow Nani to join one of their Premier League rivals.