12 June 2013

Ancelotti does Arsenal a bit of a favor in the transfer-carousel. Maybe.

I remember the breathless anticipation of waiting in line for the carousel, eagerly eyeing each horse, hoping for the coolest of them all, usually a black one frozen in mid-gallop, and the mad dash once the gates flew open. We'd run like crazy to get to the horse we wanted. Trouble was, everyone seemed to want the same horse, so whoever got it forced the rest of us to find our second-choice, or our third-choice, and so on. There were so many kids running around and only so many horses worth riding, and even though everyone ended up with horse, not everyone got the horse they wanted.

So it goes with finding a center-forward. With all of the players and managers and teams swirling around, the metaphor falters. Who are the kids and who are the horses? Who's chasing who, and who will end up where? A quick skim of the headlines offers a confounding mix of players and teams: Carlo Ancelotti is heading to Real Madrid and won't release Higuain until he can sign Luis Suarez as a replacement. Juventus is
pursuing Higuain and Jovetic, and Fiorentina wants Higuain, presumably to replace Jovetic. Cavani may leave Napoli, so Napoli wants Mario Gomez while Bayern want Lewandowski. And that's just for starters.

Where is Arsenal in all of this? Which horse will we end up riding? Will we grab the reins of  that wild stallion chomping at the bit, galloping across an imaginary pitch, ears flattened and eyes rolling, or will we end up settling for the pretty l'il filly, raising one delicate hoof ever so daintily, prancing and cantering in a cozy meadow?

This latest snag involving Luis McBite-Bite Suarez may actually help us get that stallion. Liverpool has apparently signed forward Iago Aspas from Celta de Vigo as they prepare to unload Suarez's dental prowess on yet another league. To be honest, though, it's hard to know how Ancelotti's apparent desire to sign Suarez affects Higuain's potential move. It might just be enough to irritate Juventus enough to switch their focus back to Jovetic--a move that I believe is in their best interests anyway as it hobbles a league rival. Fiorentina is said to be pursuing Higuain as well, but I just don't see this move making any sense from his point of view. It would be a dramatic down-grade for him--would he really trade this year's 2nd-place finish in La Liga, Champions League semi-final appearance, and the virtual guarantee of annual Champions League football in order to play for Fiorentina, 4th place finishers in Serie A and hoping to qualify for the Europa League next year?

I like Higuain. I'm convinced that he'd make a great addition to the squad. We might have to break our club's transfer-fee to land him, but he's proven his quality, he doesn't seem to suck up locker-room space like "bigger" names might, and he might therefore be worth it. Given Higuain's second-fiddle role with Real Madrid, we could offer him the role of #1 center-forward, from which he could very well score 20 or more goals (something he's already done three times in La Liga), not to mention contention for a Prem League championship (ahem) and Champions League competition in one of the biggest and most-urbane cities in the world. Late last week, a figure of £22m for Higuain was making the rounds. If we up the offer to, say, £25m or £28m, would this be enough to get Higuain's signature? How much farther would we have to go to make an offer too good to refuse without going overboard?