The Story of Arsenal's Chase to Sign Gonzalo Higuain From Real Madrid

Mr XSenior Writer IJuly 22, 2013

The Story of Arsenal's Chase to Sign Gonzalo Higuain From Real Madrid

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    Gonzalo Higuain is the true "fox in the box" that Arsene Wenger and Arsenal need to challenge Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea to the Premier League title.

    The French-born Argentinian international has been linked with the Gunners all summer. However, Arsenal fans' patience is beginning to run out. First there were bids, then there were no bids and now the striker is being linked with other clubs both in and outside London.

    Is the transfer just a ruse by the club to fool fans into thinking Arsenal are playing with the big boys, or are Arsenal trying to use all that excess cash they seem to have in reserve to move the club to the next level?

    Here, Bleacher Report looks at the timeline of Arsenal's chase to sign Gonzalo Higuain. 

May 14: Arsenal Told to Pay £22m and Higuain Is Theirs

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    By mid-May it was looking more and more like Arsenal were about to miss out on their long-term No. 1 target, Stevan Jovetic.

    The Fiorentina striker eventually settled on life at the Etihad under Manchester City's new manager Manuel Pellegrini. 

    In the end, Jovetic chose City over Arsenal because the Citizens showed a greater desire to sign him. The Daily Mail reported that Arsenal refused to raise their bid to the £25 million Fiorentina wanted for the player.

    With Jovetic's potential transfer going down the river and around the bend, Arsenal then turned their attention to Plan B, Higuain.

    The Daily Mirror reported that Higuain had been offered around Europe's top clubs for £22 million.

    Arsenal reportedly, however, instead of agreeing to the fee, decided to negotiate a lower price.

May 20: Arsenal Make Record Bid of £19m for Gonzalo Higuain

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    Amidst new kit deals, stadium sponsorship deals and rumored massive investment from Stan Kroenke, Arsenal's majority owner, the Gunners bid £19 million for Gonzalo Higuain on May 20, according to the Telegraph.

    The proposed transfer announced a new departure in transfer strategy, philosophy and negotiation for Arsenal. 

    It was met with glee by the Arsenal masses who sensed a real changing of the guard at the club.

June 7: Arsenal to Hold Talks with Gonzalo Higuain over Transfer

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    With Real Madrid seemingly happy to offload Gonzalo Higuain, the Daily Mirror reported in early June that Arsenal were closing in on signing the striker.

    By now, everyone knew that Madrid were looking for £22 million for the striker, but Arsenal were extremely reluctant to go above £20 million for the player.

    That would eventually come back to haunt them when Madrid would lose patience with the Gunners and demand £37 million at the end of July, according to the Daily Mail.

June 14: Arsene Wenger Prepared to Smash Club Transfer Record for Higuain

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    From being in a position in mid-May where the capture of Gonzalo Higuain was being reported as virtually guaranteed, June saw the transfer take a slightly different turn.

    Arsene Wenger had moved from a position of certainty on the striker to a position of hopefulness.

    The Guardian reported on June 14 that Wenger was hoping the imminent appointment of Carlo Ancelotti, as Jose Mourinho's successor, would speed the long-proposed transfer up.

July 4: Arsenal to Sign Gonzalo Higuain on £100,000 Per Week, 3-Year Deal

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    On July 4, the ever-reliable Sid Lowe of the Guardian reported that Arsenal and Real Madrid had reached an agreement on the £23 million transfer of Gonzalo Higuain.

    Unfortunately for Arsenal fans, the transfer never finalized despite their hopes and wishes.

    Following Madrid's final game of the season on June 1, Lowe quotes Higuain as saying:

    It has been seven years at Real Madrid and I need a change.

    This is a decision that I have taken calmly, it is not a snap decision. No one has gifted me anything: I have always had to fight. I came here for €12m and they will sell me for a lot more.

    I want to go where they show they really want me.

    At the time of this quote, Juventus had moved ahead of Arsenal in the pecking order to sign Higuain. However, Juve pulled out of the deal after capturing Carlos Tevez for £10 million on June 26.

July 8: Real Madrid: No Bids for Higuain from Arsenal

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    Arsenal's fans' dreams were smashed on July 8 after weeks and weeks of hopes being built up by the impending arrival of Gonzalo Higuain.

    On July 8, Real Madrid President Florentino Perez dropped the bombshell no Arsenal fan wanted to hear when he said that his club had received no official bids from the London-based club (h/t the Mirror):

    We don't want Higuain to leave, he told Univision.

    What's more, no-one from Arsenal has come to us and made us any offers at all for him.

    There are no offers on the table.

July 11: Arsenal After Wayne Rooney, Luis Suarez and Gonzalo Higuain...

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    Not happy with being linked with one world star, the Daily Star claimed that Arsenal were pursuing Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney and Gonzalo Higuain on July 11.

    The British newspaper claimed that Arsene Wenger and the Gunners' board were convinced that they could tempt two of the three strikers to the Emirates.

    Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated's Jonathan Wilson wrote a fascinating piece about the "bids and bluffs" in the transfer market. The basic gist of the piece was that sometimes teams are linked with Player X in a bid or bluff to get Player Y. This is a well known tactic in the transfer market.

    The one element of the transfer market he did not talk about was how these "bids and bluffs" are often used to placate irate fan groups.

    Arsenal, from a position, of not having signed a major player in years and with a record transfer spend of just £15 million on the flop that was Andrei Arshavin, are now being linked with some of the games major players.

    Are they legitimate bids? One simply has to ask the question.

July 15: Arsenal Hedging Their Bets with Luis Suarez and Gonzalo Higuain

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    On July 15 the London Evening Standard reported that Gonzalo Higuain was set to meet Carlo Ancelotti for a clear-the-air talk.

    It was believed that the new Real Madrid manager wanted to meet Higuain to sort out the striker's future amidst rumors of his departure before the Italian was brought to the club.

    Arsenal's hot and cold chase for the Argentinian saw him become their main transfer focus before being ushered to one side as the Gunners launched a bid for Liverpool's Luis Suarez, according to The Sun.

    The Gunners seemingly bid £35 million for the Uruguayan striker after balking at Real Madrid's valuation of Higuain. Arsenal had initially bid £19 million for the star.

July 17: Napoli Want Gonzalo Higuain as Edinson Cavani's Replacement

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    Edinson Cavani's high-profile transfer to the Qatari-owned cash rich Paris Saint-Germain FC on July 16 meant that Napoli were now on the lookout for a striker. And it would seem they have overtaken Arsenal in the race for his signature.

    El Matador scored a phenomenal 104 goals in 138 games in just three years in Naples. He had signed for Diego Maradona's old club in 2010 following four seasons at Palermo where he scored just 37 goals in 117 matches.

    According to the Daily Mirror's Darren Lewis, Napoli have over £100 million to spend this summer.

    The newspaper quotes Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis as negotiating for Higuain and saying:

    It's true that we're negotiating for Gonzalo Higuain and Leandro Damiao.

    The money we got for (Edinson) Cavani was 64.5m euros and added to the 60m euros we had set aside for the transfer budget there will be 124.5m euros to carefully invest on Napoli.

    There are various names on the table, we're assessing the situation.

July 18: Gonzalo Higuain Says Chelsea to Rival Arsenal for Signature

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    On July 18, Spanish newspaper AS (h/t the Mirror) claimed a source close to Gonzalo Higuain said that Chelsea were bidding against Arsenal and Napoli for the star.

    The source supposedly said "Mourinho wants me [at Chelsea]."

    Considering how Jose Mourinho utilized the striker during his time in charge at Madrid, this transfer would seem unlikely. 

    But, as everyone in football knows, one can never say never.

July 21: Arsenal to Return to Higuain Market After Napoli Refuse to Pay £35m

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    Following Edinson Cavani's £55 million sale to Paris Saint-Germain FC, cash-rich Napoli entered the market for a striker. New manager Rafael Benitez cast a net far and wide across the world to replace the Uruguayan international.

    That net eventually settled on Higuain, whom it would seem is unwanted at the Bernabeu. 

    The Independent is now reporting that Arsenal could be ready to launch another bid for Higuain following Napoli's refusal to meet Madrid's £35 million valuation of the player.

    This would be a massive climb down for Arsenal, who could have snagged the striker in May had they met Real's initial £22 million valuation before turning their attention towards Wayne Rooney and Luis Suarez.

July 21: Carlo Ancelotti: Good Talks with Higuain and He's Happy at Real Madrid

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    Depending upon which daily tome you subscribe to, Arsenal are either being asked to pay an exorbitant £37 million for Higuain or else he is staying.

    As reported on the previous slide, the striker is now available for £37 million from an initial asking price of £22 million .

    The Mirror went one step further and quoted Carlo Ancelotti on July 21. The newly appointed Real Madrid manager said, "I’ve spoken to the player and that’s private. Gonzalo is a Real Madrid player and I’m happy he’s here. That’s it."

    The Metro then put a little more meat on the bones by quoting Ancelotti as adding, "Higuain is a great player and I’m very happy to have him here." 

    "We had a good conversation about the future. I won’t reveal details, but it was good."

    "It was good," was the last thing said about Higuain.

    Sounds like the opposite of Arsenal's transfer policy given the evidence at hand.

    What do you think of Arsenal's chase of Gonzalo Higuain?

    Are the Gunners doing the right thing in the transfer market?

    Leave your comments, suggestions and thoughts in the section below.

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