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Mercato Madness: Gonzalo Higuain tracked by Manchester United, Chelsea, and other European giants

The race to poach Napoli's top striker is heating up, with a host of big European clubs chasing the Argentine.

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Day by day, it looks less likely that Gonzalo Higuain is going to stay with Napoli. The partenopei have already fended off one offer, turning away a strong opener from Arsenal, but it looks like that will be far from the only one, with a number of other big clubs circling.

Chelsea have, by some accounts, lodged a bid similar to Arsenal's -- though reports on that are far less clear and harder to find decent sourcing on -- and been turned away, while their French brothers in financial giant-ness Paris Saint-Germain, currently home to former Napoli stars Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi, are also looking in to the possibility of bringing Higuain back to the country he was born in.

With PSG expected to sell Zlatan Ibrahimovic this summer, as well as a strong chance that one or both of Cavani and Lavezzi head elsewhere, the French champions would easily be able to afford Higuain without breaking Financial Fair Play rules.

There's another team circling, though, that bears closer examination. Manchester United are rumored to be strongly interested in Pipita, and that would be a signing that would make a lot of sense for them. Gone is Falcao, the highly-paid and under-performing striker who is a shell of what he was two years ago thanks to knee injuries. Soon to be gone is Robin Van Persie, the Dutch star who has also been plagued by injuries and is well in to his decline phase thanks to age.

That gives a clear opening for Higuain to step in to at Old Trafford, who would be set up to lead the line for Manchester United. Yes, they still have Wayne Rooney, but under Louis Van Gaal's tutelage, Rooney's been more effective playing behind another striker. Pairing Rooney and Higuain might just be exactly what United are looking for as they try to get back in the EPL title picture.

There's been some talk in the last day that Aurelio De Laurentiis will stick to the infamous €100 million release clause that he used to fend off interest from Barcelona and a couple other clubs last summer, but that seems less likely this year. The impression running around at the end of the season was that Higuain only wanted to stay if Napoli at least had a shot at the Champions League. They didn't get that, and there's been nothing from the striker's camp that indicates he's bent on staying anyways.

If Napoli get a "good enough" offer, enough to represent a mild profit over what the club spent to get Higuain, then he'll probably be gone. Any of the four clubs after him are more than capable of that, so we could be down to the last days of Higuain as a Napoli player. With the Copa America starting up, a move probably won't be completed until after the tournament ends in early July, but don't be surprised at all if and when that happens.