Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis insists anyone interested in signing record breaking striker Gonzalo Higuain will have to meet the Argentine striker’s €94m (£74m) release clause.
The 28-year-old Higuain, had a career year for Napoli scoring at least 17 more goals than any other player in Serie A this season (36) and helping Maurizio Sari’s side challenge Juventus all the way for the Serie A title.
The Argentina international has been linked with a move to the Premier League as a result of his form this season and the striker did little to dispel those rumors at the weekend:
“For now, let us focus on the wonderful season we’ve had,” the striker cryptically said when asked about his status with the Neapolitan club.
Higuain still has two years remaining on his current contract, which pays him €5m annually and De Laurentiis is reportedly offering him a new deal that will keep him at Napoli until 2020, along with an annual salary of €7m.
While De Laurentiis has repeatedly stated that he would not sell Higuain, Argentina and Napoli icon Diego Maradona believes otherwise.
“I know De Laurentiis, and I think he will sell Higuain,” El Pibe told Piuenne TV, as reported by the Mirror. “Higuain gave his best to Napoli, I don’t think he can repeat this kind of form.
“We already saw it happen with Ezequiel Lavezzi. With the money he will earn, he will have to build a great team.”
I am not sure what the benefit to Higuain extending his contract at Napoli for an extra season or two is? He is coming off a career year, that he will never repeat. Plus even with a €2m increase in pay, that is still half of what a top Premier League club would pay him.
The list of clubs needing a striker and having the cash to meet Higuain’s release clause is very small; PSG and Manchester United are too such clubs. Chelsea and Arsenal need strikers too, but I cannot see either of them smashing their wage bill for Higuain or spending the majority of their transfer budget on him.
Do you think that Napoli will sell Higuain this summer? If so, where will he go?