It's time for Arsenal to end their interest in Gonzalo Higuain.
The Real Madrid striker—who has been the subject of intense speculation across the summer transfer window—continues to be highlighted as one of Arsene Wenger's top priorities throughout preseason. Reports have circled for a number of weeks, but as time continues to roll on, Gunners fans must forget the potential acquisition of the Argentinian hitman.
Despite possessing a substantial transfer kitty for the first time since moving to the Emirates, developments elsewhere have ensured Arsenal will be forced into paying top dollar for the 25-year-old's services. Napoli recently sold Edinson Cavani to Paris Saint-Germain for a momentous £55 million and have confirmed their interest in bringing Higuain to the Stadio San Paolo.
As reported by Napoli" target="_blank">Sky Sports, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis recently indicated Higuain is amongst the names new boss Rafael Benitez is hoping to land:
It's true that we're negotiating for Gonzalo Higuain and Leandro Damiao. The money we got for Cavani was €64.5 million and added to the €60 million we had set aside for the transfer budget there will be €124.5 million to carefully invest on Napoli.
There are various names on the table, we're assessing the situation.
With such financial clout confirmed, there is no chance Arsenal can now land Higuain at a respectable price. Real Madrid have the perfect opportunity to grab £30 million for the striker who notched 17 goals in 37 appearances for Los Blancos during the 2012/13 campaign, as totted up by Whoscored? According to The Sun, Madrid president Florentino Perez may even aim to sell the unwanted striker for over the aforementioned figure.
This kind of commitment represents a huge risk for Wenger. Higuain is a proven goalscorer in La Liga and at the international level, but his potential transfer fee competes with the numbers wanted for established Premier League players such as Luis Suarez, Christian Benteke and Wayne Rooney.
Although Higuain certainly fits in with Arsenal's free-flowing style, the Gunners need more than an adept finisher for that price. For just a little over Higuain's fee, Suarez will add a directness and dribbling ability that would allow the Uruguayan to easily bring wingers such as Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain into play. He's played with similar players at Liverpool and would need little time to adapt.
Benteke also represents a better value for the money if Arsenal are to drop around £30 million on a player. Wenger's men have improved their physicality and grit over the last year, but an imposing presence is still missing from the front line. The Belgian is a behemoth in the air, looks to play smart lay-offs with his teammates and also has plenty of room to improve. Similar to Suarez, he offers the Gunners vital attributes that overshadow the traits of Higuain.
Arsenal are even better off turning to Manchester United's Wayne Rooney for added firepower. The Guardian recently confirmed Chelsea have had a £20 million bid rejected for the Englishman who posted a poor 2012/13 season. Although David Moyes suggested the forward is not for sale during his debut Red Devils press conference, a smartly-placed bid could tempt the Premier League champions into parting ways with their key asset.
The Gunners can easily compete for such a world-renowned name. As the Higuain saga continues to progress, Wenger and Arsenal fans must realise there is greater talent available at a similar price. Granted, the North London side need an out-and-out goalscorer, but they also need a player who is going to advance their strategy by offering something missing from the club's current lineup.
With Napoli tracking Higuain's movements, he no longer offers value for money in a transfer window that continually forces clubs to overestimate the potential of a player due to his valued fee. If Arsenal sign Higuain for anything around the £30 million mark, Wenger will have done just that.