Gonzalo Higuain won't leave Napoli for less than €100m

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Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool have been priced out of a move for Gonzalo Higuain after Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis revealed the striker won't leave Stadio San Paolo for less than his €100 million release clause.

The Daily Express carries quotes from the Serie 'A' chief, who rubbished earlier reports suggesting that the Argentina international could be bought for £55 million, and pointed to the five-year contract that the player signed only last summer.

"Some of you wrote that I should've written a €70m (£55m) release clause into his contract," De Laurentiis told Corriere dello Sport. "Well, I can tell you that last year when I signed Higuain's contract there was a €100m (£80m) release clause.

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"As you can see, the media are always misinformed. They dive into these stories and hypothesise, but do you really think that after 10 years running a club, someone who comes from cinema and produced more than 400 films doesn't know how to write a player's contract?

"Do you believe I am someone who doesn't know how to negotiate a good deal?"

Arsenal blow

The news will come as a massive blow to Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, who is a long-term admirer of the former Real Madrid man.

He came close to luring Higuain to the Emirates Stadium last summer, but lost out to Rafa Benitez after trying to haggle over a fee.

Any possibility of the 26-year-old moving to North London now looks slim, particularly after Arsenal's high profile capture of Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona.

The Chilean forward's Premier League transfer was confirmed by the club last night, and represents a shift in Wenger's typically frugal transfer market approach.

Chelsea interest

Chelsea meanwhile are also believed to be keen on recruiting Higuain, with Jose Mourinho knowing the player well from his time in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Blues boss has already negotiated big money deals to bring Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa to Stamford Bridge this summer, but Higuain's valuation is likely to prove too expensive, even for Roman Abramovich.

Liverpool complete the trio of interested Premier League parties, with Brendan Rodgers still on the lookout for a replacement for Barcelona-bound Luis Suarez.

Suarez replacement

The Uruguayan striker is expected to leave Anfield for upwards of £70 million, but that still won't prompt the Merseyside club to overpay for Higuain.

Rodgers is believed to be considering a number of alternative striker targets to supplement the likes of Daniel Sturridge and the recently acquired Rickie Lambert in attack.

De Laurentiis closed his interview by reassuring Napoli fans that the South American - who is set to feature in the World Cup final against Germany on Sunday - will not be unsettled by recent speculation regarding his future, and hopes he will remain committed to the Italian club moving forward.

"I really like Higuain, he is an exceptional person and very well-mannered," he added. "So as long as our rapport continues to work, I see no problems."

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