How and when can Juventus swoop Napoli’s striker Gonzalo Higuain. Rocco Fasano breaks down the scenarios and disproves some of the theories circling social media
News of serious Juventus interest in Napoli’s (and Serie A’s) leading striker Gonzalo Higuain “broke the internet” yesterday.
El Pipita, as he is known, is coming off a record season of 36 goals in the Italian top flight. However, at the end of June, his brother and agent, expressed his client’s malcontent at Napoli’s strategy presumably pushing the Argentine striker away from Naples and to one of Europe’s top clubs.
While rumours of Arsenal’s interest in the Argentine bubbled, the news of Juventus’ interest exploded. According to reliable sources (Gianluca Di Marzio, Matteo Pedrosi and Damiano Giordano) the player has reached a verbal agreement with Juventus in the neighbourhood of €7.5 million net per annum.
Until July 31 the only way suitors are going to get Higuain is by breaking his €94 million rescinding clause, with an obligatory €47 million to be paid this season, unless Napoli accepts otherwise. If Juventus had this amount readily available they would have closed the deal as they had with Pjanic, namely with an email that would have said something to the effect of “here’s the money, thanks”.
So, what’s next? Juventus needs to find the liquidity to finance Higuain’s by that date or wait it out. As the pressure mounts and as July 31st nears, the likelihood of Napoli breaking their own clause (by lowering the cash and/or accepting players as trade) increases along with the player’s willingness to leave.
The aforementioned liquidity would, of course, come from selling some prized players. Pogba’s sale, which many hit at, would in one fell swoop address the liquidity problem. But it seems that neither the player nor the bianconeri brass want to see the Frenchman away from Turin.
Juventus have received an offer of €25 million + bonuses for Simone Zaza from Wolfsburg (according to Matteo Pedrosi and Di Marzio), and have recently rejected a €17 million offer by Red Bull Leipzig for Mario Lemina (according to Sportitalia), and could squeeze even more out of it. Further, a deal that would bring Roberto Pereyra to Napoli is already pending closure (rumoured to be at €15 million plus bonuses), all of which would be added to Real Madrid’s €30 million disbursement for Alvaro Morata. With around €87 million (not counting bonuses) from player sales, Juventus would have to self-finance only €7 million in order to arrive at Higuain.
Rumours of Juve offering Sturaro and/or Rugani and/or Mandragora and/or others in order to “balance the scales” would be only credible after the July 31 deadline and/or IF Napoli were to accept players instead of cash, which hardly seems the case according to Napoli expert and journalist Raffaele Auriemma.
What is difficult to believe is that Juventus would offer the player a €7.5 million/annum contract. With a lot of its stars sitting at €4.5-6 million/annum, one is left to imagine that the agents of Buffon, Pogba, Bonucci, et al. are licking their chops at the possibility of forcing renewals. Not to mention the impact of said renewals on Juventus’ base budget and expenditures.
The days ahead will certainly prove torrid in one of the most interesting summer transfer seasons in Serie A.