It's been a rough summer for Gonzalo Higuain. He was dreadful in the Copa America, and had an appearance in the final that he'll never want to remember. There were accusations earlier this month of him spending too much time in night clubs. Then he had to be restrained from fighting fans while he was on vacation. As he prepares to rejoin Napoli at their Dimaro training retreat, though, and he might have a nice little gift waiting for him there: an offer for a contract extension.
The report comes from Gianluca Di Marzio and has been confirmed and repeated by several outlets. Aurelio De Laurentiis has reportedly met with Higuain's agent-slash-brother Nicolas to discuss the framework of a potential extension, a meeting that also included the Higuains' father. Apparently the deal could come together fairly quickly, with a finalization potentially coming by the end of the week.
Despite Higuain's difficulties over the last few months, he's still be described as "unsellable" by De Laurentiis and as "essential" by Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri. He's arguably Napoli's best and most talented player behind Marek Hamsik, and he's awfully hard to stop when he's on form.
The trouble is, when he hasn't been in form, especially last season, Higuain hasn't offered Napoli much up top. At Higuain's wages, especially if he gets a raise from this extension, he needs to be far more consistent to really earn the trust and money Napoli are investing in him.
There's also a big risk in offering Higuain a contract now -- if things go sideways in these negotiations, he's going to want out. Given the look of the transfer market right now, that could be very bad for Napoli, as it would be tough to adequately replace him even with a hefty transfer fee in hand.
Speaking of a departure, one has to wonder what would happen to that famous €95 million release clause in this new contract. One would have to imagine Higuain would want it reduced, right?