Why Gonzalo Higuain Could Become the New Filippo Inzaghi at Juventus
Reliably lethal striker Gonzalo Higuain and Italian superclub Juventus are made for each other. The River Plate product could become a latter-day Filippo Inzaghi figure at the club and, with help from new signing Fernando Llorente, supply the goals for a side that is already one of Europe's strongest.
When the Argentine front man made it clear he had had enough of playing second fiddle to others at Real Madrid, as reported here by Fox Soccer, several top clubs prepared to jump in with offers.
Gonzalo Higuain says he's leaving Real Madrid to join club where he's "wanted" - http://t.co/JVmOSLJQP8— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 1, 2013
The frontrunners for Higuian's signature were believed to be Arsenal and Juventus, though Alex Hankin of the Mirror revealed that the Italians now appear the hot favorites to close the deal, with a meeting set to take place between their representatives and Real Madrid officials on June 9.
Hankin wrote on June 5:
...it's looking like the Italian giants have stolen a march on Arsene Wenger, with representatives of Real Madrid and Juventus meeting on Sunday to discuss Higuain's future, according to talkSPORT.
Juventus have reportedly stuck in an £18.8million bid for Higuain, and while that's about £7m shy of Real's public asking price, it's possible that some sort of 'mates rates' deal could be in the offing.
Real President Florentino Perez is reported to be attending the meeting on Sunday and to have told Spanish media: "We are friends and there could be an agreement if they want it."
This is seemingly a fantastic piece of news for the "Old Lady," but according to Juventus expert and BBC Sportsworld panelist Mina Rzouki, Higuain isn't quite what some fans of the club had hoped for when they were promised a big-name striker.
Rzouki explained the situation on her ESPNFC blog:
Despite being a fan favourite and a player who has consistently performed for club and country, he is not a striker who commands attention. Consistently overlooked when compared to the best forwards in the world, it’s safe to say that he is not the man many Juve fans had in mind when they thought ‘world-class’.
Rzouki goes on to make the point, backed by plenty of statistical evidence, that anyone who does not consider "Pipita" to be world-class probably doesn't have a clear idea of what world-class means.
Despite never truly establishing himself as Madrid's first-choice striker, Higuain has nevertheless managed to notch up 122 goals and 46 assists in 266 appearances for the glamour club.
Meanwhile, he has worked his way up to 10th on the all-time list of scorers for the Argentina national team with 20 goals in just 32 games, having nailed down a spot alongside Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi in international football's most fearsome strike force.
Higuain is not always the most elegant player in the world—though he is capable of scoring some cracking goals—and he would be the first to admit his talent is not on a par with most of his companions in attack for both Argentina and Real Madrid. This, perhaps, is the reason some football observers have trouble placing him in the top handful of forwards in global football, in spite of the evidence to support that claim.
Inzaghi faced similar doubts over his pedigree throughout his career. "Pippo," like "Pipita," seemed to miss his fair share of chances. He often disappeared for long stretches from matches. And he certainly didn't have the skill set of some of his contemporaries.
Yet none of that ever stopped him banging in goals. Juventus can expect a similar deal if they do manage to sign Higuain—a steady stream of precious, precious goals.
Even aside from that valuable quality, the French-born forward boasts all the traits that should see fit seamlessly into Antonio Conte's Juventus squad. He is a hard-working team player adept at adjusting his game to the side's tactical requirements. Bearing in mind we are just a year away from a World Cup, Higuain was justified in pushing for a move away from Madrid, where he was not guaranteed to play key role in the coming season, but that does not mean he craves the limelight. He comes across as an easygoing individual off the pitch who is ruthlessly determined on it.
Gonzalo Higuain to Juventus is a transfer move that ticks all the boxes. If it comes to pass, don't be surprised if he soon becomes a fan favorite like Inzaghi before him. They might even call him "Super Pipita" one day.
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