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Barcelona Transfer News: Blaugrana Shouldn't Push for Gonzalo Higuain

BRASILIA, BRAZIL - JULY 05:  Gonzalo Higuain of Argentina celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Quarter Final match between Argentina and Belgium at Estadio Nacional on July 5, 2014 in Brasilia, Brazil.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Gianni VerschuerenFeatured ColumnistJuly 10, 2014

Gonzalo Higuain made it clear he has no intention of leaving Napoli during the summer transfer window, and a transfer move to Barcelona seems both unlikely and unwise at this point.

The Argentine striker told TycSport (h/t to Goal's Mark Doyle) he was moved by Lionel Messi's reported attempts to lure him to the Camp Nou, but that he wanted to stay in Italy for now:

"I'm truly grateful to Leo for his kind words. But I have a contract with Napoli that makes me very happy. Even since I arrived, the Partenopei have always treated me very well."

Those comments came as a response to last month's news, via Goal, when Messi said he'd love for his Argentina teammate to join him in Barcelona:

"I would love Higuain to come to Barca."

With the news Luis Suarez is set to join the Blaugrana in a deal worth around £75 million, per the Daily Mirror's David Anderson, the team's need for a new striker would effectively be filled with the arrival of the Uruguayan forward.

BRASILIA, BRAZIL - JULY 05:  Gonzalo Higuain of Argentina (L) celebrates scoring his team's first goal with Angel di Maria during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Quarter Final match between Argentina and Belgium at Estadio Nacional on July 5, 2014 in Brasi
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

But Suarez or no Suarez, a Higuain transfer to Barcelona simply wouldn't work. The 26-year-old can be a productive striker in the right system, and the Blaugrana's formation built around movement, quick passing and the talents of Messi wouldn't be a good fit for the former Real Madrid player.

Apart from a brilliant performance in the quarter-finals, Higuain's 2014 World Cup has been a major disappointment. He hasn't been able to translate his scoring record at Napoli into success with the Albiceleste, and he has struggled with his positioning and finishing in Alejandro Sabella's squad.

Higuain isn't a runner—he's an excellent physical presence in the box adept at finishing when he gets a look on goal. Ask him to play a free role that frequently sees him drift out wide, and he will struggle.

Napoli don't ask him to move. The Partenopei have surrounded the Argentine with an army of able, quick wingers who will use their movement to create space for Higuain to exploit, and all he has to do is what he does best—finish.

Whether it's getting on the end of crosses or finding pockets of space near the goal, Napoli will do whatever they can to put their high-priced forward into the best position to score. And with 17 league goals in his Serie A debut, Per WhoScored.com, it seems they were quite successful.

NAPLES, ITALY - MAY 06:  Gonzalo Higuain of Napoli with Tim Cup before the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and Cagliari Calcio at Stadio San Paolo on May 6, 2014 in Naples, Italy.  (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Saying Barcelona want more out of their strikers wouldn't give Higuain enough credit—rather, they need their striker to have a different profile. With so much talent out wide and in the centre of the pitch, the Blaugrana are in constant motion, and the ball will go from foot to foot in the blink of an eye.

Even more than a clinical finisher, Barcelona need someone with the pace and creativity to survive in such a quick system. Someone who can create space for himself and teammates by moving away from the box, if need be, and who will still take his chances when the ball comes.

For all of his flaws, Suarez is such a striker. And even as a backup to the oft-maligned Uruguayan, Higuain is not. He's the perfect man to lead Napoli into the future, and he knows it. It's why he won't be leaving Italy anytime soon, and why Barcelona shouldn't try to convince him otherwise.

 

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