All weekend long, all we heard from the Italian media was varying assumptions about how Napoli would sell Gonzalo Higuain to Juventus. Because apparently the bianconeri have some magical power to make direct rivals in Serie A act against their best interest and sell them their best players, apparently. Well, that turns out not to be the case, because Napoli have officially and publicly declared that they will not sell Higuain to Juventus under any circumstances but the triggering of his €94 million release clause -- a clause that Juventus refuse to trigger.
This outcome shouldn't be shocking to Napoli fans -- Aurelio De Laurentiis has long held a policy of not selling his team's talented players to direct, competitive rivals unless he can help it. And even if some reports on Juventus' offer were true -- some €70 million plus three or four players who could perhaps be useful for Napoli but weren't wanted by Juventus any more -- it still represents Napoli helping Juventus get better by selling them a tremendously talented striker, something that De Laurentiis would not stand for, and that would have absolutely outraged fans.
But worry not! De Laurentiis and Napoli aren't as stupid and foolish as you're afraid they are! We're not going to see Higuain in black and white stripes any time soon, unless Beppe Marotta changes his stance on the release clause -- something that would be surprising considering Juventus' general policy of not over-spending. And let's be honest, €94 million for an almost-29 years old Higuain is overspending by a fair ways. Heck, €94 million for pretty much any player is overspending, even in the currently, wildly over-inflated transfer market.
In fact, this "negotiation" session was so predictable that we can offer you this exclusive look at the entire long, bitter, drawn-out process:
Juve: "We want to give you less than the release clause to buy Higuain."— The Siren's Song (@SirenSongNapoli) July 18, 2016
Napoli: "LOL no."
Of course, this doesn't mean that Higuain is staying at Napoli this season. There's still other interested teams out there, teams, less financially sane than Juventus. His brother-slash-agent-slash-moron is still threatening to have Gonzalo "quit" Napoli if they're "not convinced by the project." The bridge between Napoli and Higuain is pretty well past saving at this point, but at least he's not going to be torturing them from Turin.