Gonzalo Higuain could leave Napoli in 2015

Gonzalo Higuain could leave Napoli in 2015 (©GettyImages)

Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool could all make fresh bids for Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain, who might leave the Serie A club next summer because of managerial unrest at the Stadio San Paolo.

According to the Express, Napoli boss Rafael Benitez - who played a key role in bringing Higuain to the Italian outfit last summer - could be replaced by former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini.

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Poor start to the season

Napoli, who finished third in the Serie A table last term, have taken a disappointing three points from their opening three matches, leaving them down in 15th position.

The Partenopei also missed out on a place in the Champions League group stages after losing over two legs to Spanish club Athletic Bilbao, which has heaped more pressure on Benitez’s shoulders.

Higuain, meanwhile, has failed to open his account for the new season, despite having played the full 90 minutes in all three of Napoli’s opening matches.

Higuain could leave if Mancini arrives

The Argentina international scored 24 goals in 46 matches in his debut campaign with Napoli, following his €40 million transfer from Real Madrid, but may look to move on next summer if Mancini replaces Benitez.

The aforementioned Premier League trio were all strongly linked with the 26-year-old last summer, but a move failed to materialise after they were quoted an astronomical £80 million fee to sign the South American striker.

De Laurentiis reveals £80m release clause

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis revealed that Higuain had a €100 million (£80 million) release clause inserted into his contract, in response to speculation that his buy-out clause was closer to £55 million.

"Some of you wrote that I should've written a €70m (£55m) release clause into his contract,” he 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.

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

Napoli may need to sell

However, Napoli are reportedly in a perilous financial predicament, which has been exacerbated by their failure to qualify for the Champions League group stages.

Subsequently, they could be forced to sell Higuain to balance their books, and may agree to sell the striker for a reduced price.

This would tempt Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool all to make a move for the player, who is widely considered one of the world’s best number nines.

Chelsea have the advantage?

Chelsea may have the advantage in any future race to sign Higuain thanks to manager Jose Mourinho, who worked with the Napoli striker at Real Madrid.

However, the Blues already possess a top-class striker in the form of Brazil-born Spain international Diego Costa.

Arsenal, meanwhile, spent £16 million on England international Danny Welbeck from Manchester United and already have Olivier Giroud in their ranks.

And Liverpool forked out the same fee to sign Italy international Mario Balotelli from AC Milan this summer.

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