Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis says he 'wishes' he could sell striker Gonzalo Higuain for his release clause of €90 million.
The Argentinian striker has been linked with an exit from the Italian club for some time now, with Arsenal and Manchester United amongst his suitors. The Gunners came close to getting their man two years ago only to be trumped by Napoli, who sealed a deal worth £34.5 million.
Now two seasons on and Higuain could leave Naples after a difficult season in which he missed a crucial penalty for Napoli in their 4-2 defeat against Lazio which ultimately cost them Champions League qualification, while he also missed from 12 yards in Argentina's Copa America final defeat against Chile earlier this month.
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Arsenal have been linked with a host of striker targets this summer after Olivier Giroud was criticised last season, and Higuain is believed to be high up Arsene Wenger's list.
Having completed a swoop for Petr Cech the French boss could now make his move for Higuain and De Laurentiis says he is more than happy to sell up, but only if the Gunners activate his £64 million release clause.
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“Sell Higuain? I wish I could sell him!” he told reporters. "With €90m I could buy eight players for the club!”
Higuain scored 18 goals in 37 Serie A games last season while Giroud managed 14 in 27 Premier League outings.
The French international came in for criticism from club legend Thierry Henry last season, who believes Wenger needs an upgrade from Giroud in order to challenge for the title. Henry said back in April: "I think Giroud is doing extremely well. But can you win the league with him? I wouldn't think so. He does a job, and he does it ever so well, but you can't win the league."
Higuain's stock has dropped sufficiently over the past 12 months to make any thoughts of a €90 million deal a joke. The Gunners will not shatter their transfer record for a player who seems devoid of confidence and who at 27-years-old would have little re-sale value at the end of his contract.
Giroud gets a tough time because he's not a big name - a valid point he made last season - and his goal record stands at 41 goals in 97 league starts. Wayne Rooney by comparison has exactly the same amount of goals in only a handful of games less over the last three seasons and yet he is considered undisputed number one at Old Trafford. How is that fair?
Is Olivier Giroud good enough to lead the line for Arsenal next season?
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