One of the assumptions that many have been working under for Napoli's summer is that, in the wake of the departure of Rafa Benitez and Napoli's failure to make the Champions League, the partenopei would likely lose star striker Gonzalo Higuain to a big club. Now we might be seeing the first steps in that direction, after Napoli received and rejected a roughly €40 million bid from English Premier League club Arsenal.
Arsenal are looking for an upgrade over Oliver Giroud, who is a talented striker, but maybe not quite as good nor as consistent as Arsenal want their leading man to be. The 27 year old Higuain would in theory represent that desired upgrade, and with the Gunners likely to spend heavy this summer, expect them to come back with an improved offer.
It's expected that Napoli are holding out for something closer to €50 million for Higuain, but before you accuse Aurelio De Laurentiis of being crazy again -- let's face it, that's always a likely culprit -- there's some real-world financial stuff to consider first. Namely, that despite Arsenal's original €40 million offer representing an apparent profit on the €37 million Napoli spent to buy Higuain originally, it's not quite that simple. You see, the euro as a unit of currency is much, much weaker than it was two years ago. Arsenal's offer -- reported as £29 million in the English press -- would have been worth more like €35 million two years back. Napoli's desired fee is closer to €43 million by that same conversion.
So this isn't just De Laurentiis being crazy and asking for the moon, this is De Laurentiis trying to make sure he doesn't get shortchanged. Since Arsenal aren't the only side interested in Higuain -- both Manchester United and Chelsea have shown an interest in the wake of other targets signing contract extensions, and there's been on-and-off rumor of Liverpool interest for almost a year -- it's not improbable that Napoli will get something close to what they want out of this transfer.
One thing's for sure, though: we should probably get used to the idea of life without Gonzalo Higuain in a Napoli shirt.