Arsenal near Higuain deal after agreeing £100k-a-week terms

Preliminary negotiations have taken place between the Gunners and Real Madrid over a fee for the Argentine striker but sources insist that a deal is not yet done between the clubs
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Gonzalo Higuain has agreed terms with Arsenal ahead of an increasingly likely move from Real Madrid this summer.

Alberto Pinero | Goal Spain

"Higuain has been counting the hours at Real Madrid. Loved by a majority of fans, the striker has, however, never earned the affection and respect of a small section, despite having scored over 100 goals for Madrid and being among their captains.

"This year, Higuain has been fiercely criticised after an unremarkable season (only 18 goals among the whole competitions), having failed again in the Champions League - particularly in the semi-final against Borussia Dortmund, leaving him with a record of just nine goals in six seasons in Europe's top tournament.

"'Pipita' is tired of not getting the recognition that he thinks he deserves. Last year, he wanted to go but Jose Mourinho convinced him to stay. This year, it seems inevitable that he will leave."
Goal understands that the Londoners have agreed a contract with the Argentine striker that will start with a salary of £100,000-a-week.

This would bring Higuain in line with Arsenal's top earners, Theo Walcott and skipper Thomas Vermaelen, but would not shatter the club's wage bill.

Nevertheless, the striker will pocket a bumper pay rise if he joins the Gunners as he is believed to be earning a relatively modest £64,000-a-week at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Preliminary negotiations have taken place between Arsenal and Madrid on a fee for the 25-year-old but it has yet to be agreed and sources say that the deal is not quite done. The Gunners are hopeful that an offer of £20 million can close the deal, while the Spanish giants are holding out for around £25.5m.

Higuain alerted buyers by publicly insisting that he will leave Madrid this summer following six years in the Spanish capital.

Juventus have also made the prolific forward an offer but there are doubts about their willingness to pay a £20m-plus fee.

Arsene Wenger has made a concerted move for Higuain as he bids to break the £20m transfer barrier – comfortably surpassing the club's record – on two new players this summer.

16/1 Gonzalo Higuain is 16/1 with William Hill to be the Premier League's top goalscorer in 2013-14
As revealed by Goal, Arsenal have also activated the £22m release clause in Marouane Fellaini's Everton contract but have not yet opened official talks with the player.

Wenger has also shown strong interest in Wayne Rooney and Fiorentina's Stevan Jovetic but Higuain has been told he can leave by Madrid and the deal is viewed by the Gunners as easier to secure.

The Argentina international has a prolific scoring record at both club and international level and will be regarded as a statement signing if Arsenal can finalise the transfer.

The north Londoners have also made moves to sign centre-back Ashley Williams from Swansea City and goalkeeper Julio Cesar from QPR.

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