Arsenal have agreed personal terms with Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain ahead of a potential £22 million transfer, according to reports. The Argentina international has previously revealed that he wants to depart the Bernabeu this summer and has been pursued by both the Gunners and Juventus. But Arsenal appear to be close to getting their man in a deal that would smash their current transfer record and give a clear sign of Arsene Wenger’s readiness to spend significant sums to strengthen his squad this summer.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Wenger has met with Higuain and that the 25-year-old has agreed to personal terms worth £130,000 a week. That figure would make him the club’s highest-paid player, eclipsing the £90,000 a week that Lukas Podolski is believed to earn. There is some surprise in the fee, with Madrid president Florentino Perez having recently indicated that the player would only leave for in excess of £25.5 million. According to the London Evening Standard, Madrid are still holding out for that figure, but a compromise is expected to be struck. Whatever the figure ends up being, it will certainly eclipse the club’s previous highest fee paid of £15 million for Andrei Arshavin in 2009.
A deal for Higuain would end Arsenal’s search for a top level striker to compete with Olivier Giroud next season. Yet, Podolski has urged Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski to move to the Emirates. The Poland international has just a year left on his contract and is eager to join Bayern Munich this summer, but Dortmund have refused to sanction that transfer and have recently insisted that Lewandowski would be remaining with them for the coming season.
That would appear to put an end to discussions on his future for the time being, but Podolski is keen to link up with the 24-year-old. “He would fit ideally into our team,” he said, according to the Daily Star.
Arsenal’s search for a striker is claimed to have also taken them in a surprise direction. The Daily Star reports that the Gunners made a late inquiry about Andy Carroll before the target man completed his move to West Ham on Wednesday. A fee of £15 million has been agreed between West Ham and Liverpool for some time after the player spent last season on loan at Upton Park. But, at the last minute, Arsenal apparently sought to discover the financial requirements of completing a deal before being dissuaded by the figures involved.
And it seems that Arsenal are also being put off by the money required to sign Swansea City captain Ashley Williams. It has long been reported that Wenger is keen to add the Wales international’s leadership skills to the Gunners defense. However, according to the Sun, Swansea’s £10 million valuation of the 28-year-old is proving a stumbling block
Arsenal’s defense experienced problems last season with captain Thomas Vermaelen being dropped for the climax of the campaign. However, with Laurent Kocielny and Per Mertesacker forming a good partnership and Vermaelen insisting that he wants to remain at the Emirates, Wenger looks unlikely to pay over the odds for Williams.