Manchester United boosted in race for Gonzalo Higuain

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Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea - as well as Spanish giants Barcelona - have been boosted by the news that Napoli have a replacement lined up for Argentina international Gonzalo Higuain. The player in question is Chile international Eduardo Vargas, who already belongs to the Serie A outfit, but has spent most of the last two years away from the Stadio San Paolo.

According to the Express, Napoli have been impressed with Vargas’s displays at the World Cup finals in Brazil and are prepared to give him another opportunity to shine. The 24-year-old joined Napoli from Universidad de Chile in 2012 but has, so far, failed to impose himself with his current employers.

Vargas was sent on loan to Gremio in 2013 and Valencia earlier this year, but his eye-catching performances in Brazil have convinced Napoli boss Rafael Benitez to consider him as a serious replacement for Higuain, if the Argentine departs the club this summer.

Vargas scored Chile’s opening goal against world and European champions Spain, who were dumped out of this summer’s showpiece international tournament after just two matches on Wednesday.

Higuain: A man in demand

Higuain, 26, is wanted by some of Europe’s biggest clubs after scoring 24 goals in 44 appearances in his debut campaign with Napoli. Barcelona are believed to have prepared a £45 million offer and it’s currently unclear whether any of the interested Premier League clubs will match Barcelona’s planned bid.

However, recent reports suggest United, Chelsea and Arsenal have all made contact with Higuain’s agent after discovering that the world-class striker could be on the move.

It was a similar story last summer, when rumours surfaced that Higuain was open to the idea of leaving Real Madrid, where he scored 122 goals in 264 matches during his seven-year spell with the Spanish giants. Arsenal were believed to be at the front of the queue, but Napoli came in with the biggest offer after selling Uruguay international Edinson Cavani for over £50 million to Paris Saint-Germain.

Which club needs Higuain the most?

Manchester United’s interest in Higuain is hard to fathom. Louis van Gaal has an excellent relationship with United’s main striker Robin van Persie, who will undoubtedly be the Red Devils’ first-choice centre-forward next season, with Wayne Rooney in just behind the Netherlands international.

Whether Higuain would want to reunite with Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, meanwhile, is debatable. Although if Cesc Fabregas can be convinced to play for the Portuguese coach, it seems anything is possible.

Arsenal, on the other hand, may go back for Higuain after missing out on the South American last summer. Arsene Wenger is in the market for another forward to ease the burden on Olivier Giroud, who would lose his first-team place if the Gunners successfully convinced Higuain to come to the Emirates Stadium.

And while Barcelona are believed to be leading the chase for the Argentine, not only would they be signing a former Real Madrid striker, but they would also need to revamp their system in order to fit both Higuain and Lionel Messi into their starting line-up. It could prove more hassle than it’s worth for new Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique.

Where do you think Gonzalo Higuain will end up next season? Have your say in the comments section below - and take a closer look at why the Argentina star is a man in such high-demand by watching this video.

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