09 July 2013

Higuaín's transfer hovers at 80%. Is this masochism or good, clean fun?

Despite reports that Real's Florentino Perez has said there's been no offer from Arsenal and that we've waggled £30m at Luis Suarez, the odds of Higuaín joining Arsenal stand firm at 80% (as rated by transfermarkt), just as they were on Sunday when we last revisited the move. A lot has happened since that post, but, as Ernest Hemingway once said, never mistake motion for action. In other words, there's been a lot of running in place. Perez can say what he wants, but it seems silly if not preposterous that there's been no offer from Arsenal. Maybe he's speaking in the technical sense that we haven't submitted something official or on paper. Maybe he's just being cute—you know that guy who, when you ask if he knows the time, checks his watch and just says "yes"? He doesn't tell you the time but he's answered the question you asked. No other club besides Juve has been seriously linked with Higuaín over the last few months. It's all well and good that Perez now says he wants Higuaín to stay, but it doesn't seem as if Higuaín wants the same. Even if Ancelotti is keen on keeping the Argentine, he'd still have to convince Perez that Benzema should cede more playing time to Higuaín   I don't see that happening.

No, I won't  'sign da ting', naughty boy. Not yet.
It's all too much to bear, all of the agony of waiting and hoping and praying for some of release. Or is it? In an analogy more-risqué than yesterday's, perhaps we haven't been tortured enough. There's a level of masochism here that's hard to ignore. I'll resist the sleazier aspects of the metaphor, but it feels at times as if the whole transfer-process is a cruel dominatrix hell-bent on punishing us and punishing us some more—and we beg for even more. Some of us even crave it, taking each and every story at face value: Gonzalo's on a plane to London! Wait—Perez says there's been no offer. Someone has a pic of Gonzalo in an Arsenal training kit!

The alternating states of agony and ecstasy are at once excruciating and irresistible. I've tried to wean myself by saying, "it's not the actual signatures that matter, but the quality of the players we're linked". The fact that we're so close to signing Higuaín and are in play for Rooney signify that our ambitions and our stature have grown even since January when the most significant names we were seriously linked with were Ba, Diamé, Huntelaar and Zaha—nice players all, but none quite stir the blood as well as Wayne, Gonzalo, or Cesc. We could probably conduct a study of Gooners as they respond to tranfer-rumor headlines: how much do the pupils dilate? How much does the the pulse quicken? Which areas of the brain are most active? How much seratonin and dopamine and oxytocin surge through the bloodstream?

There is something in it that is sexual. Is that wrong to admit? How will Gooners respond when a signature is finally announced? The pressure has built up so high that, should Higuaín or Rooney's signature actually happen, the ecstasy may dwarf that of the one over Koscielny's goal against Newcastle, after which we'll all collapse on our sofas, exhausted and spent. We've earned it, haven't we? Please? Please? What is that damned safety-word...

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