02 June 2015

Arsenal to make £40m bid for Higuaín? It's...too...soon...

I'll admit it, I'm not sure I'm ready. Not for the advent of the silly season itself, but for this particular story. My feelings are still...too raw. I haven't fully processed them yet. Do you know what I mean? It feels like just yesterday that we were making googly eyes at Gonzalo as he flirted with it, gazing at us sympathetically with those soft, brown eyes, understanding us as we'd never been understood before and might never be understood ever again. We waited at the airport with a bouquet of flowers, our most-slimming dress and those heels that gave our derriere just the right amount of lift, when—without so much as a by-your-leave—he whisked himself away to Italy. Jilted and teary-eyed, we now have to face up to our own broken hearts as resurrected rumours have us offering £40m for El Pipita.

Napoli are in a bit of disarray, it must be admitted, having stumbled into fifth place and a Europa League spot despite having splurged in the transfer-market in recent seasons (£33m or so for Higuaín as the biggest deal of late). Manager Rafa Benítez, having overseen a club that had finished third in Serie A before his appointment, has stepped down, and the club have already shown that they're more than willing to sell off valuable assets (as long as PSG are willing to throw money around) such as Cavani and Lavezzi). With factors like these in mind, it's not all that far-fetched to suggest that Higuaín might be available.

However, as already suggested, it seems too soon. I'm fully aware of the paradox at play when I pen this, but Wenger's Law, which posits that there is an inverse relationship between the timing and number of articles linking us to a player and the likelihood of us signing him. In the case of Higuaín, the articles started to fly so fast and furious that Wenger's Law was invoked, thereby cancelling out all possibility of us actually signing the player. By contrast, the signing of Özil was so far under the radar that the earliest articles only appeared a few days before deadline-day. That we "settled" for Özil rather than signing Higuaín only confirms Wenger's Law even further.

As for Higuaín, he does seem to have rediscovered the form that had started to slip away once Real Madrid brought in Karim Benzema. Real Madrid regularly score 100 league goals or more these days, making it hard to put stats in context, but Higuaín did see his stats dip after Benzema joined the club. At Napoli, Higuaín has reverted to previous form, scoring 53 goals in 102 appearances. In the more cynically-defensive Serie A, that's an impressive achievement. Indeed, his goal-scoring rate while playing for goal-happy Real Madrid—0.563 goals per game—is similar to his rate while playing for the more-penurious Napoli—0.507 goals per game. He'd be a natural fit for our style of play, good at holding onto the ball, adept at laying off to other attackers, aggressive in pressing for possession.

If Napoli are indeed unsettled enough to again unload a scorer of Higuaín's level, we'd be fools to again let the chance slip through our fingers a second time. This time through, we might have a few more intangibles working in our favour. Former team-mate and supplier Özil might whisper in his ear. Reaching even further afield, might the Chilean or the Brazilian influence the Argentinian? Drool away...