Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has reportedly begun talks to sign Real Madrid star Gonzalo Higuain. A report in The Daily Mirror states Wenger had discussions with Higuain and his father, who is his agent, regarding a transfer.
The move would be a bold declaration of Wenger's willingness to spend more this summer. The Gunners chief is said to be targeting a £20 million deal for the prolific forward.
That would be an out of character move for Wenger, but a welcome one. Arsenal need that kind of outlay if they hope to bridge the gap between themselves and the elite of the English Premier League.
The likes of Chelsea and the two Manchester giants are leaving Arsenal trailing, because they have outspent Wenger in the market. Now it appears the Frenchman is armed with greater capital.
Chief executive Ivan Gazidis has boasted that Arsenal are now able to be a force in the market. His comments followed reports of a £70 million fund, new shirt sponsorship arrangement and plans to abolish the wage structure.
The onus is now on Wenger to use that fiscal power. After years of balancing the books and taking a cautious approach to transfers, Wenger might well relish the possibility to snare players previously out of his reach.
Higuain is one such player. Wenger has tracked him since his days with Argentine club River Plate. He now has the means to pay Higuain's reported £130,000 per week salary.
He can also take advantage of Higuain's desire to play more regularly. He has been a squad player for too long with Los Blancos.
That is despite a stellar record in front of goal. Higuain is a clever finisher, who utilizes subtle movement and underrated power to escape markers.
Wenger knows his current Arsenal squad lacks an elite finisher. He needs a crafty link player and unerring finisher to act as the focal point of the Gunners' attack.
Higuain fits the mold and still only 25, also fits the profile of younger players Wenger often targets. A player approaching his prime, with the top-level experience Higuain possesses, is a bargain, even at £20 million.
Like many other targets, the rumors linking Higuain to Arsenal, have been going strong for several months. BBC reporter David Ornstein recently tweeted that Arsenal are not interested in fellow supposed targets Wayne Rooney and Stevan Jovetic.
That fresh links to Higuain have emerged so soon after Ornstein's report, could be a case of simply tying Arsenal to one of the few top striker targets still within their reach.
But Wenger's fondness for the player, plus Higuain's known availability, as well as his suitability for Arsenal's style of play, gives this rumor a healthy amount of merit.
Signing him for £20 million would push Arsenal into a higher spending bracket. But they would still not enter the realms of crazy fees and wages Wenger often loathes.
Concluding a transfer for Higuain would be a genuine coup for Wenger and would still leave him room to upgrade other areas. Of the host of star strikers Arsenal have been linked with so far in this window, a move for Higuain looks the most likely.1169989