Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain has revealed that he is open to the possibility of joining Arsenal this summer. The Argentina international is widely expected to depart the Bernabeu in the close season and has been strongly linked with both Juventus and the Gunners. It had appeared that the Italian champions were closing in on a deal, with negotiations underway, but they have had a €22 million (£18.7m) offer rejected with Madrid holding out for €30 million(£25.5m), reports Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport.
And that could well leave the door open for other suitors, such as Arsenal. While Higuain has also spoken in complimentary terms about Juventus, he is leaving his options open. “There have already been offers and I hope that Madrid do the best for me and themselves,” he said, according to Metro. “Arsenal? They would suit me, I’m still young and I have goals.”
Italian outlet Tuttosport reports that Chelsea, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain could also be tempted to make a move for Higuain. The 25-year-old has had to share time with Karim Benzema for much of his time at Madrid, yet finished with 16 goals in La Liga this past season.
Both Juventus and Arsenal are also competing for the signature of Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic. And it is a similar situation to Higuain with the Montenegrin forward’s club not countenancing a sale for less than €30 million. While Fiorentina this week contradicted earlier comments that Jovetic had asked to leave and that his wish would be granted, it seems highly likely that he will be departing Florence before the end of the transfer window.
And a fresh competitor for his signature has emerged with the Times reporting that new Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is keen to land the gifted frontman and talks have already opened over a potential £23 million deal. With Arsenal said to be wavering over meeting his asking price, the saga could be a test of whether Arsene Wenger is truly prepared to invest significantly in the squad this summer.
Another option, and certainly a less expensive one, to fulfill Arsenal’s need for a top level forward is David Villa. While it had been thought that Wenger had moved onto younger targets having been frustrated in his attempts to sign the 31-year-old in January, reports continue of Arsenal’s interest. And if the Gunners miss out on other targets, Villa could well come into the frame.
With Barcelona having completed the signing of Neymar, it seems improbable that Spain’s all-time record goal-scorer will remain at the Camp Nou. Yet, Villa is giving nothing away over his future. “My mind is on the Confederations Cup and doing well there,” he said, according to Marca. “I'll have to look at a lot of things during the summer and we'll see what happens. Now I am not thinking about anything other than playing football. I have a contract with Barcelona and I am very happy here.”
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail has taken the latest comments from Wayne Rooney to suggest encouragement for Arsenal in their hopes of signing the unsettled Manchester United forward. Wenger revealed in a recent interview that he would be interested in the England international and is said to be monitoring developments at Old Trafford. Rooney found his role limited at United in the closing weeks of the season and was often played in a midfield role when he was on the field. And the Mail has read plenty in to some fairly innocuous remarks from Rooney that he prefers playing up front.
“In the years to come, that might be somewhere I could play, but, right now, I'm definitely a center-forward. I'm after more goals.” he told FourFourTwo magazine. “I've played up front on my own a few times for Manchester United and it's a role I'm very comfortable with and have no problems playing.
“When you play as a target man, you have to stay up front and help the team out by holding the ball up and waiting for support. That all comes with experience. “It's a good role for me to play, and hopefully I can continue doing well there.”