Napoli must keep hold of star striker Gonzalo Higuain if they are to challenge Juventus for the Serie A title next term.
The Argentinean, who is currently on international duty with Alejandro Sabella’s side at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, is said to be one of new Barcelona manager Luis Enrique’s alternatives to Sergio Aguero as the Spaniard sets about rebuilding the team in the wake of them losing the La Liga title on the final day of last season to Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid.
He only moved from Real Madrid to Napoli last summer, after rejecting an approach made by Arsene Wenger and Arsenal. He has thrived under the stewardship of Rafael Benitez and scored 24 goals in 44 games in all competitions last term.
Higuain also helped to fill the void left by Edinson Cavani’s exit to French giants Paris Saint-Germain and helped them lift the Coppa Italia, where they beat fellow Serie A side Fiorentina 3-1 in the final.
Such performances have made him one of the most coveted players in the world, with Barcelona now seemingly interested in bringing him to the Nou Camp in spite of his past allegiance with arch-rivals Madrid.
Prior to his exit last year, Higuain had enjoyed his time in the Spanish capital and left having scored 122 goals in just 264 games, with 56 assists along the way.
He won three La Liga titles in 2007, 2008 and 2012 as well as the Copa Del Rey in 2011 and Spanish Supercup in 2008 and 2012.
In his younger days, he was touted by many Madridistas as being the heir to Spanish legend Raul’s throne, but injuries and the constant changing of managers had a huge effect on his form as time went on.
When it became clear that he would have to continue to play second fiddle to Karim Benzema, and that Alvaro Morata would be given a more prominent role, the 26-year-old had no choice but to leave for pastures new.
Higuain’s strength, power and eye for goal means Napoli would be losing a valuable asset if he found the chance to play for Barcelona and to spite his former club too hard to turn down.
He is expected to play a key role at the World Cup and alongside the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria is charged with the duty of delivering a first World Cup since 1986, when Diego Maradona led them to glory.
Napoli must keep him at the club, or risk falling down the pecking order of Italian football in his absence.
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