Higuain Claims He Rejected Arsenal Move

By on August 2, 2013

I came across an interesting quote for one-time Arsenal target Gonzalo Higuain this morning that suggests he turned down the chance to join Arsenal in favour of joining Napoli.

We all should know the story by now. We were on the verge of signing the Argentinean hitman for around £23m when Napoli came in with a late bid, flashing the cash after selling Edinson Cavani to PSG for £55m. Understandably, Real Madrid suddenly upped the asking price, knowing Napoli had money to burn, and they promptly agreed a fee in the region of £32m with the Italians.

The newspapers claimed Arsene Wenger refused to match Napoli’s bid, pulled out of the race and switched his attention to Luis Suarez (who he then bid £40m for). We all thought Higuain would have been ours if the boss had just matched Napoli’s offer. Arsenal fans up and down the country castigated Wenger for once again being tight and questioned why he was prepared to pay over £40m for an arm-biter like Suarez, but not pay £32m for a proven goalscorer like Higuain.

And this is still a valid question, but how do we really know we didn’t match Napoli’s offer? We only know what the papers tell us, so perhaps Arsenal did match their bid but the player snubbed us in favour of a move to Naples?

The latest quotes coming from Higuain suggest that a move to Arsenal was still an option for him. He’s quoted in Le10 as saying:

“Arsenal and Juventus ? I spoke with my Argentinian friends who played in Naples before, and they told me positive things about the city and the fans, so I decided to come here. This is a growing team and the San Paolo is a mythical stadium. I am happy and proud to be part of this team.”

I know what you’re probably thinking, of course he’s going to say that he choose Napoli over other teams and he’d no doubt say the same if he opted to join Arsenal, but it does make you wonder.

The player has no real reason to lie. Sure he wants to please his new adoring fans by making out he rejected other big clubs for them, but he could have done that by simply naming Juventus. The Napoli fans will love him for turning down the Serie A champions alone, they probably aren’t that fussed about us.

So if we really did pull out due to the price hike, Higuain could just have said something along the lines of “Arsenal? I was close to a move there but it didn’t work out and when I had the chance to join Napoli, it was something I couldn’t resist…..blah, blah”.

Did we refuse to pay the £32m asking price, or did the striker turn us down? Who knows, maybe I’m looking into it too much but the whole Higuain saga was strange to me. We were so close to doing the deal so surely we wouldn’t have pulled out just because Madrid upped the price. We would have done the same thing in their position and let’s face it, Higuain is worth £32m in today’s market. I’d rather we spent £32m on him than the £50m we’re being quoted for Suarez any day.

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What do you make of the Higuain saga? Do you think we refused to meet his asking price, or the player turned us down?