Napoli agree £31.8m fee with Real Madrid for Arsenal target Higuain

The Serie A club are negotiating personal terms with the Argentine's camp after settling a price with the Spanish giants, who had priced the Gunners out of a move
By Wayne Veysey | Chief correspondent

Napoli have agreed a £31.8million fee with Real Madrid for Arsenal target Gonzalo Higuain, Goal understands.

The Serie A club have had a fresh bid for the Argentine accepted by the Spanish club and Napoli are now trying to convince the player to move to the San Paolo.


"Napoli received €63m from Edinson Cavani's sale to PSG, so president Aurelio De Laurentiis has sanctioned many new signings; Callejon, Albiol, Rafael and Mertens. They can still quite easily afford Higuain.

"Napoli remain interested in Leandro Damiao, but it is highly unlikely that they will sign both players. It will be Higuain or Damiao alongside Gilardino or Matri."

Personal terms are yet to be agreed, with Higuain's insistence on retaining his image rights providing a something of a stumbling block.

Higuain has two years remaining on a Nike deal worth around £1.5m-a-year but Napoli would prefer to take control of his image rights and pay him a more lucrative salary.

The forward earns a relatively modest £64,000-a-week at Madrid and Napoli are believed to have offered him a deal in line with the £100,000-a-week starting salary he had agreed with Arsenal.

The Gunners had agreed personal terms with Higuain but a transfer to the Emirates Stadium stalled because Madrid were holding out for a bigger offer than the £23.1m submitted by the Londoners.

Arsene Wenger subsequently switched his attention to capturing Luis Suarez from Liverpool after learning the Uruguayan was interested in a move to the Emirates.


"Following Florentino Perez's latest interview, in which he says Real Madrid will not sign Ibrahimovic, Luis Suarez's name again featured prominently in the Spanish media as a replacement for Higuain.

"If Madrid can accrue almost €40m for the Argentine, you cannot rule out a bid or the Liverpool striker."

Wenger is still believed to be monitoring Higuain’s situation but plans to bring him to Arsenal are on the backburner as the Frenchman attempts to land Suarez for £40m-plus in a deal that would smash the club transfer record.

Arsenal will not attempt to match Napoli's bid but could come back into the running for Higuain's signature if he rejects a move to the Serie A club.

New manager Rafael Benitez targeted Higuain for the vacant senior centre-forward role in the team after selling Edinson Cavani for €63m (£55m) to Paris Saint-Germain last week.

Although Madrid have claimed Higuain is not for sale, Goal understands the Spanish club are now ready to offload the forward, who has spent six years at the Santiago Bernabeu.

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