Arsenal are said to have opened talks with Gonzalo Higuain over a move to the Emirates, but they look set to face serious competition for the Real Madrid striker’s signature from Italian champions Juventus. According to the Daily Telegraph, Arsene Wenger has identified Higuain as his primary target in his search for a leading striker this summer. The Argentina international has been a reliable goalscorer during his six-and-a-half years at the Bernabeu but has stated his desire to leave this summer. It is not believed that Madrid will stand in the player’s way.
The Daily Mirror reports that Wenger has held talks with the 25-year-old and his father, Jorge, who also acts as the player’s agent, in Paris. Higuain recently expressed that he would be open to a move to the Gunners. Yet, reports in Italy are equally positive about Juventus’ chances of landing the striker. Gazzetta dello Sport believes that Higuain favors a move to the Italian champions and the two clubs are now trying to agree on a fee after their leaders met at the Bernabeu on Sunday. Juventus are said to have offered €22 million (£18.7m), while Madrid are holding out for €30 million (£25.5m).
Intriguingly, both Arsenal and Juventus are also chasing Fiorentina forward Stevan Jovetic. Worryingly for Arsenal, Juventus want to team up Higuain and Jovetic, according to Gazzetta. Chelsea are also believed to be chasing the Montenegrin, who has confirmed that he wants to leave the Serie A side.
"Last summer president Andrea Della Valle told me to stay one more year and that at the end of the season, which is now, I would be allowed to leave if I wanted to,” Jovetic explained in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport. "I've been at Fiorentina since 2008, it has been five intense seasons. I'm young and ambitious and it is normal to want to test myself somewhere else. I don't see anything wrong with that.
Fiorentina have insisted that the 23-year-old will not be allowed to leave for less than an agreed €30 million (£25.5m) fee, but Jovetic does not believe that the club will prevent his exit. "Fiorentina have allowed me to compete in Europe. Now I want to win in Europe. Fiorentina's request won't block a departure. There is a clause but they will help me."
The list of forwards under consideration by Arsenal does not end there, however, with Wenger having admitted to holding an interest in Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney. The England international, whose future remains uncertain, is believed to be on wages in excess of £250,000 a week, a figure that is considerably above the limit of Arsenal’s current wage structure. Yet, with increased funds at the Gunners’ disposal this summer, chief executive Ivan Gazidis has revealed that the club could break that strict pay structure.
"We could do that, we could do more than that,” he explained, according to Sky Sports. "It is going to be the players that Arsene believes in. He is pretty blind to price tags, he looks at what he sees with his eyes and makes judgments based on that, and not on reputations and prices.”
And when asked specifically about Rooney, Gazidis claimed that a deal would be financially viable. "I don't know what his fee would be,” he said. "I'm talking about an extra £70 million of additional, high-margin revenue -- so of course we could do that."
Meanwhile, Arsenal have been given the green light to return with an offer for Toulouse midfielder Etienne Capoue. The France international was said to have been the subject of offers from Arsenal as well as Queens Park Rangers in January. Although they rejected bids then, Toulouse have revealed that they are prepared to sanction his departure this summer. "We didn't let Capoue leave this winter for £10 million because we felt that we still needed him," president Olivier Sadran said, according to ESPN. "This time, he'll leave if a club makes us a good offer, but there has not been one for the moment."