The biggest talk in the transfer market so far this summer is whether Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain is going to link up with his international team mate Lionel Messi at Barcelona next season, and if reports coming out of Italy are to be believed, hard nosed Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis is going to do everything in he can to keep his man according to the Marca.
Word on the ground is that negotiations have yet to begin between Napoli and Barcelona however Higuain has already agreed terms from Barcelona.
Higuain who is currently on duty with Argentina in Brazil, has even gone so far as to say he would find it an honour to play for Barcelona alongside compatriot Lionel Messi but stopped short by stressing that right now his focus is very much with his country and winning the World Cup.
Napoli want Higuain to stay
The Argentinian only joined Napoli from Real Madrid last season and after a successful first season that saw the striker score 17-goals in the league and with Champions League football beckoning Aurelio De Laurentiis does not want to see his man leave.
De Laurentiis is in the process of putting together a buy-out clause in the Argentine’s contract that he is hoping will prevent him from leaving and price him out of Barcelona’s reach.
The Napoli president has a reputation for being a tough negotiator as PSG found out with the signing of Lavezzi when he did the same, forcing the Paris club to pay up the €31 million, a tidy profit for Napoli considering he only cost them €6 million in 2007.
The Napoli president wants his star man to accept the inclusion of a €70 million buy-out clause and in return he will give him a substantial pay rise on his €4.5 million he already receives.
If this doesn't fend off Barcelona's advances then at least he has protected the clubs investment and they will be rewarded with a €30 million profit after just one season.
This will surely test the resolve of the Barcelona board and how far they are prepared to go to land their marquee signing.
Higuain has of course got to agree to the terms first which look unlikely however it does show to the player that the club are desperate to keep him which I suppose they are hoping will turn out to be the stronger hand.
If Higuain ignores all these distractions and hits the big time for Argentina alongside Messi during Brazil 2014, then who knows the €70 million might not deter the Catalan Giants.