Chelsea Transfer News: Gonzalo Higuain Rejected January Move, Latest Rumours

Matt Jones@@MattJFootballFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2016

NAPLES, ITALY - FEBRUARY 07:  Gonzalo Higuain of Napoli celebrates the opening goal during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and Carpi FC at Stadio San Paolo on February 7, 2016 in Naples, Italy.  (Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images)
Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

Chelsea were reportedly rejected by Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain in the January transfer window. It was claimed the Blues were willing to part with more than £40 million to bring him to Stamford Bridge.

That’s according to Sami Mokbel of the MailOnline, who claimed the champions made the surprise offer midseason but didn’t reassure the in-form forward that he’d be immediately be first choice given Diego Costa’s recent return to form.

“Indeed, Chelsea are understood to have approached over half a dozen other strikers during the January transfer window only to be rebuffed,” continued Mokbel. “Whether Napoli would have entertained any formal offer for Higuain from Chelsea is open to debate.”

ROME, ITALY - FEBRUARY 03:  Gonzalo Higuain of SSC Napoli celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Serie A match between SS Lazio and SSC Napoli at Stadio Olimpico on February 3, 2016 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)
Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Their pursuit of the former Real Madrid forward may not be over quite yet, with John Cross of the Daily Mirror suggesting the Blues will return for the 28-year-old in the summer after their “hush-hush” January offer failed. “They [Napoli] value him in the £40 million class, but it remains to be seen whether Chelsea would meet that price,” he adds.

If Chelsea had landed Higuain in January it would have been a huge surprise. Here’s what the forward is capable of:

This season in particular, the striker has been in sensational form. As noted here by Squawka Football, in the final third the Argentina international has made a massive contribution to his team:

Napoli are currently top of the Serie A standings and in remarkable form; this weekend they head to Juventus looking to build a five-point gap between themselves and the reigning champions.

Higuain has been the driving force behind his side’s success, and it’d be no surprise to see the juggernauts of European football come in for him after this spectacular campaign. Chelsea need a new centre-forward, too, with speculation swirling over the long-term future of Costa, with Atletico Madrid linked, per Cross.

Costa's future at Stamford Bridge remains unclear.
Costa's future at Stamford Bridge remains unclear.Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

As these statistics prove from, since he arrived at Napoli Higuain has been one of the finest penalty-box poachers in Italy:

But a move to Stamford Bridge may not be something Higuain looks to push for at the end of the campaign. He’s in the peak years of his career, after all, and while Chelsea have alluring qualities, the club are unlikely to be in the Champions League next term, which will surely be a requisite for the forward at any potential new club.

One player who has been culpable in the Blues’ slump this term is Pedro, although the former Barcelona man is not willing to give up on his Chelsea career quite yet, according to the London Evening Standard (h/t Rhys Turrell of the Daily Star)

Pedro hasn't shown his best form since moving to Chelsea.
Pedro hasn't shown his best form since moving to Chelsea.Paul Gilham/Getty Images

As Harry Sherlock of Goal noted recently, having arrived in the Premier League with plenty of accompanying expectations, the forward has toiled badly:

It’s claimed Pedro is willing to stick around and help with next season’s “rebuilding job,” and there will be a greater onus on the 28-year-old to perform in 2016-17. The winger should be at full tilt, setting the tempo for the team, working the flanks and scoring goals. But the spark that was so prevalent during his time at the Camp Nou has whittled away in west London.

There’s a tremendous player in there somewhere and a footballer who would make a massive difference to this Chelsea team when at full tilt. Blues supporters will be hoping Pedro can find his feet next term.