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.”
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:
Most goals + assists in Europe's top 5 leagues this season:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 7, 2016
Z. Ibrahimovic (29)
C. Ronaldo (26)
G. Higuain (26)
L. Suarez (26)
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.
As these statistics prove from WhoScored.com, since he arrived at Napoli Higuain has been one of the finest penalty-box poachers in Italy:
Mauro Icardi: Only Gonzalo Higuaín (26) has scored more clear-cut chances in the last 2 Serie A seasons than Icardi (21)— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) February 11, 2016
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).
As Harry Sherlock of Goal noted recently, having arrived in the Premier League with plenty of accompanying expectations, the forward has toiled badly:
Has any Chelsea player underperformed quite as horrendously as Pedro this season? #CFC— Harry Sherlock (@Harry_Sherlock) February 7, 2016
Will Pedro come good at Chelsea?
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.