Arsenal made a move to sign Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain this summer but failed to offer enough money, confirmed club president Aurelio De Laurentiis.
Arsene Wenger went into the transfer window knowing he would need reinforcements up front if the Gunners were to challenge for the Premier League title.
June, July and much of August went by without so much of a hint that a world-class striker was on his way to the Emirates until, finally, Deportivo frontman Lucas Perez arrived. The Spaniard, however, was hardly the calibre Arsenal fans were hoping for.
But no longer can they claim that Wenger did not at least try to sign the 30-goal-a-season hitman that they were dreaming of. In fact, he made a move to sign a 40-goal-a-season striker in Higuain but found Napoli unwilling to negotiate.
De Laurentiis confirmed he received a request from Arsenal before the Argentine ultimately joined Napoli's Serie A rivals Juventus, who met his £75m release clause.
“We received a request from Arsenal,” he told the Evening Standard. “Personally I also received a request from Atletico Madrid but they didn’t put enough money on the table.
“We were not ready to sell him – for me Higuain was not for sale.
“One year earlier I offered another five-year contract to Higuain and his brother. It was more money than what he is getting right now from Juventus.”
Second time of asking
Arsenal were on the verge of signing Higuain in the summer of 2013 with the Guardian reporting that a £23m deal had been agreed with Real Madrid before Napoli swooped in with a £35m bid.
The Italian outfit were flush with cash after selling Edinson Cavani to Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal rejected the chance to match the offer.
Wenger's decision not to was most certainly the wrong one. Napoli have profited massively from the striker, who finished his three-year stint in southern Italy with 71 league goals in 104 appearances.
But even De Laurentiis insists he took a risk by spending so much money on a player who had failed to fulfill his potential at Real Madrid.
He said: “Real Madrid were doing well but he was not playing all the time. Also with Argentina he had made some mistakes – it can happen to everybody.
“Right now Higuain is from another planet. Probably in two years they will say the same for Milik. The soccer ‘blah, blah, blah, blah’ is always the same.”