The protracted Gonzalo Higuain transfer saga appears to have been stretched some more after Arsenal’s talks with Real Madrid appear to have stalled, the Daily Express reports.
The 25-year-old Real Madrid striker was reported to have been in advanced stages of talks with the Premier League club, but according to the aforementioned news article, Arsenal are reluctant to meet Real Madrid’s asking price of 25.5 million pounds. Fans of the club, however, will be hoping that their manager, Arsene Wenger, will be able to negotiate the deal for the Argentinian centre forward.
Wenger’s pursuit of Higuain, whose minutes-per-goal ratio last season was better than Robin van Persie’s and Luis Suarez’s, stems from his desire to have a reliable goalscorer lead the line at the club.
Olivier Giroud, the French striker recruited last summer, had a finer season that most believe, but his primary strengths are link-up play, opening spaces for onrushing teammates, and aerial prowess, which Arsenal have failed to exploit because they haven’t widened their style of play.
However, Wenger, who is perhaps unlikely to change his broadly successful 4-3-3 system, has always wanted his teams to play possession football, relying on quick, short passing, which necessitates the presence of a poacher-like figure at the top; thus, asking his wingers to stick to the flanks and cross in for Giroud to head home was always unlikely to happen.
There is no doubt that Higuain, who, at 25, is entering the prime of his career, was never the focal point of the attack at Real Madrid even though he was the lone striker- a position that came under further threat following the arrival of Karim Benzema. Despite the lack of playing time and a requirement to work the flanks rather than net goals, Higuain has scored 16 goals or more in four of his last five seasons at Real Madrid, and would therefore represent the reliable goalscorer that Wenger and Arsenal’s fans have desperately desired.
However, Higuain, who excels on the counterattack, has often struggled against tight defensive lines, which might be a common occurrence while playing against teams in the EPL, and might require a second striker or a trequartista who stays between the lines and creates space for him by drawing out defenders.
Perhaps, Wenger could play Giroud and Higuain together and rely on the Frenchman to provide him with knock ons using his height. Whatever the formation, though, a striker who guarantees goals will surely flourish under the guidance of Wenger.
Fans will surely be hoping that the contractual impasse is resolved shortly, because with Higuain at the Emirates, and with managerial changes perhaps disturbing teams, Arsenal have the opportunity to mount a serious challenge next year.
With all the rumours involving Gonzalo Higuain to Arsenal over the past couple of months we investigated his stats during last season’s La Liga campaign with Real Madrid.
The first thing you will notice is just 19 starts, however this is due to Mourinho opting to rotate the Argentine with Benzema for the central striker role. When he has started however his goals per game ratio is very high.
Here are his stats from the past season in Spain:
Gonzalo Higuain 2012/13 La Liga statistics
- Appearances: 19 (9)
- Goals: 16
- Assists: 5
- Shots per Game: 2
- Shot accuracy: 51.8%
- Conversion Rate: 28.6%
- Key Passes Per game: 0.8
- Dribbles Per game: 0.7
So how did he fare compared to his team-mates and Arsenal’s main striker Olivier Giroud?
Obviously Ronaldo was on another planet, but upfront Benzema started the same amount of La Liga matches as Higuain however played two extra from the bench and managed less goals (11).
Giroud started 24 matches with an additional 10 appearances off the bench, scoring 11 goals in his first Premier League season. Not a bad sum for a player in transition, however Higuain’s conversion rate is far more impressive with the Arsenal man netting just under 10% of his shots. The Madrid man also claimed five assists to Giroud’s three.
You can then start to look at the statistics from the Cup competitions, however it is on the international stage that will prick the ears of Gooners with the Argentine scoring 9 goals and claiming one assist in 11 World Cup Qualifiers last season.
Higuain certainly has the goal scoring stats to back up a substantial transfer fee, lets hope Arsenal can eventually lure the striker to north London as he can be a big player for the Gunners next season.