Gonzalo Higuaín: Forget Jovetic & Rooney, Madrid's Poacher Will Revitalise Arsenal...
The players all danced around the Cibeles fountain. They had won the league in style and had knocked Barca off their perch, although it wouldn’t be for long. One player was catching the eye of the camera. Gonzalo Higuaín was walking round with a Real Madrid shirt on, so were the other players, but his was different as the forward had his shirt signed by the whole squad, messages thanking him and wishing him luck. It was seen as a sign that the player was leaving and he was linked to many clubs. Alas he would stay but that time of year is upon us again and Higuaín’s name is once again being rumoured with a move but this time it is different as Real Madrid General Manager, Jose Angel Sanchez, has invited clubs to make an offer. Arsene Wenger is keen to take him up on that offer but he is not alone.
The son of professional footballer, Jorge Higuaín, the player was born in France when his father was playing for Stade Brestois 29 and so holds a EU passport. He has an older brother who also plays as a forward and after an unsuccessful spell in Turkey with Beskitas, he eventually settled in the MLS but there is no doubting the star of the family is little Pipita. His father spent just one year in France and was soon back in his homeland, Argentina. Gonzalo started to show his talent at a very young age and River Plate were quick to sign him and he came up through their academy. He made his debut in 2004 but it would be his performance in 2006 in the Superclásico that would turn him into a star. A brace against Boca made the entire world sit up. France called him up for a friendly but he didn’t play. The player was indecisive about which country he wanted to play for but he would eventually decide to represent Argentina and become only the third player to be born out of the country to represent La Albiceleste in the World Cup.
Real Madrid were watching and they signed him for €13m and they also brought Fernando Gago too. The midfielder would have a torrid time at the Bernabeu with injuries and poor performances seeing him eventually shipped out on loan and then to Valencia. Higuaín had a mixed start to his career but eventually knuckled down and proved his worth. He has had some problem with the boo boys but he has always played it down. Another problem he had was that Florentino Perez returned and Higuaín was a symbol of the former President’s reign and so it was seen that he must be moved on, only Pellegrini and then Mourinho disagreed. Now it seems that a move is a reality so who can sign him and what will they get?
Arsenal are admirers but so too as many clubs. Man City may have their quota of strikers but Pellegrini may be tempted to bring the forward over to Manchester. So might Jose Mourinho. Juventus are keen and don’t rule out Bayern Munich. So why are all these clubs so desperate to sign him?
At the start of his Real Madrid career he was very frustrating, fumbling when trying to control the ball and he was also very wasteful in front of goal. His tender age was forgotten by the fans that booed him and for a while he only appeared for Real Madrid when they played away. He started his path to redemption when he came off the bench and scored within 57 seconds against Barca. When Ruud van Nistelrooy got injured the following season the club turned to him and a decent run in the first team paid dividends but then Perez would return and signed Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. It was said that the Argentine striker would be sold but he stayed and ended the first season under his new President as the clubs top scorer, scoring more than Ronaldo.
With Ronaldo, Higuaín became more of a Plan B type of player, something that is very unfair. At any other team he would be the star. His inconsistency is long gone and his control has improved. He has scored 14 goals but he delivers more than goals, and so far this season he has provided 5 assists. He is not afraid to get back and tackle and he has pace. He is well built and so can’t be bullied off the ball. He is intelligent both with the ball and off it. His timing is great and he knows how to read the game. While Real Madrid tend to use him on the bench for big games, his national team don’t. So far this season he has scored seven vital goals and provided one assist in nine outings for Argentina.
Higuaín is still only 25 and about to come into his prime. He has a contract until 2016 and Los Blancos are believed to want €30m for him although that fee is negotiable. Some Real Madrid fans would prefer the club to sell Benzema on but it seems that the club’s hierarchy is determined that it should be the Argentine that goes to make way for a big summer signing. For those looking from the outside it is just baffling how the club overlook his talents but their loss could soon be one lucky club’s gain. If Arsenal want him, they need to step up now as rumours in the Spanish Press suggest that Juventus are in advanced talks but having signed Fernando Llorente, it isn’t clear why they would spend so much on another striker. Will El Pipata succeed in England? There is no way of knowing but one thing that is guaranteed, is that he will fight with his last breath to do so.