Gonzalo Higuain has agreed terms with Arsenal ahead of an increasingly likely move from Real Madrid this summer.
The Londoners have agreed a contract with the Argentinian striker that will start with a salary of €135,000-a-week.
This will bring Higuain in line with Arsenal’s top earners Theo Walcott and skipper Thomas Vermaelen but will not shatter the club’s wage bill.
Nevertheless, Higuain will pocket a bumper pay rise if he joins the Gunners as he is believed to be earning a relatively modest €75,000-a-week at Madrid.
Preliminary negotiations have taken place between Arsenal and Real on a fee for the 25-year-old but it has yet to be agreed and sources say the deal is not quite done.
The Gunners are hopeful that an offer of €23.5 million can close the deal, while the Spanish giants are holding out for around €30m.
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 €23.5m-plus fee.
Arsene Wenger has made a concerted move for Higuain as he bids to break the €23m transfer barrier – comfortably breaking the club’s record – on two new players this summer.
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 Real and the deal is viewed by Arsenal as easier to secure.
The Argentine 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.