Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain has not yet agreed to a deal with any club, according to his bother and representative. Speculation continues to surround the Argentinian’s future, with Juventus thought to be closing in on a transfer but Arsenal still very much interested. The 25-year-old has confirmed he is a seeking a move this summer and has spoken in positive terms about both leading suitors. But his brother, Nicolas, has insisted that no deal has yet been struck.
“Right now there is no agreement with any club,” he told Spanish sports daily Marca. “For starters, they would have to first talk with Real Madrid. Nothing has been closed.” But, according to another member of the Higuain family, the player’s father, Jorge, there has been informal contact with Juventus.
"We had contact through a friend of the [Juve] president, [agent Ernesto] Bronzetti," he told Spanish publication AS. "He looks after the market. I suppose he spoke with them. The clubs must first talk with Madrid and start the negotiation. [Gonzalo] wants to go to a team who recognize him and appreciate him. We want a team who is in Europe."
Arsenal may have to accelerate their pursuit of Higuain with Chelsea and Napoli also credited with an interest and Italian sports paper La Gazzetta dello Sport claiming that Juventus director general Beppe Marotta is set to meet with Madrid president Perez in the Spanish capital on Sunday. Yet the same news outlet also speculates that Juventus may have instead turned their attention toward Manchester City forward Carlos Tevez.
Arsenal are also thought to have alternatives in mind, including Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke. But, despite the powerful Belgian reportedly revealing that he would be keen to join the Gunners, in quotes later denied by his agent, Villa look set to put up significant resistance to his departure.
“It is going to take very silly money for Villa to part with Benteke,” a Villa source reportedly told the Sun. “Clubs who are interested know they will have to break the bank to sign Christian.” The Daily Mail believes that “silly money” will be around the £40 million mark. Yet, while Villa’s intentions may be honorable, they will likely be forced to relent if Benteke opts to push for a transfer.
While a striker would appear to be a priority for Arsene Wenger in the transfer market, he may also be looking to add creativity to a side that was unusually found wanting in that department for long spells last season. The Gunners could yet move for one of their reported long-time targets Mathieu Valbuena. The Marseille attacking midfielder has revealed that he would consider a summer transfer.
"My contract has been automatically prolonged for one season due to Champions League qualification," he said, according to Sky Sports. "But we will see what happens in the summer."
Another of Ligue 1’s creative midfielders who is thought to be interesting Arsenal is Montpellier’s Younes Belhanda. Olivier Giroud was a teammate of Belhanda’s when Montpellier won the title in 2012 and has said that he would be delighted to reunite with the Moroccan at the Emirates. "I would welcome him with open arms,” he told French publication L’Equipe. “He called me to ask advice about the Premier League. He has the right physical abilities and is built for that league. He would just need to work on his fitness to resist challenges."