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Gonzalo Higuain uses Chelsea as leverage in latest contract negotiations

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Strangely underrated Gonzalo Higuaín has been linked with a move to Chelsea since at least the summer of 2012 (or even 2010!) and those rumors hit fever pitch a year later, when both he and manager Jose Mourinho left Real Madrid.  A reunion at Chelsea would not have been surprising, especially given the fact that Chelsea were still relying on something called a Torres to lead the line.  But Higuain ended up moving to Napoli instead, replacing Edinson Cavani (who also did not move to Chelsea) for €40m.

Nowadays, with Chelsea's forward line often resembling a Greatest Hits of The Torres mixtape (with an added dash posturing, antagonizing, and a bit of the old ultraviolence), it's perhaps unsurprising that we're once again being linked with several new striker signings.  And while Higuaín is still well under 30 and going as strong as ever at Napoli this year — leading scorer in the Serie A in fact — the latest rumors about Chelsea potentially making a move for him are probably nothing more than negotiating leverage as his agent (who is also his brother) tries to win a contract extension from most peculiar man Aurelio De Laurentiis.

"Three years ago Gonzalo chose Napoli and you can see how much this club means to him by what he is doing on the pitch. His dream, since the first day he set foot in Naples, is to win the scudetto with Napoli. [Fellow Argentinian] Diego [Maradona] won the scudetto with Napoli in his third year at the club and we hope this will be a good sign."

-Nicolas Higuain; source: ESPN

Higuain's current contract runs through 2018, but starting in the summer, he will be eligible to buy it out through FIFA Article 17 (i.e. the Webster ruling).  The player claims he wouldn't resort to such tactics to force a move, so perhaps he should be rewarded for his loyalty.

"A great player like him could never take advantage of Article 17, it would make him look very bad and isn't the style of our family."

[...]

"At the moment we don't have any appointments lined up with Napoli, I met De Laurentiis in Venice but it wasn't the right moment to talk about certain things because we were calm and focused on the result to be achieved."

-Nicolas Higuain; source: Radio Crc via Football Italia

Boasting one of the best defensive records and one of the most prolific strikers in the league, Napoli are just one of four teams vying to take advantage of Juventus's early troubles and win the Scudetto.  Following the weekend's 1-0 win over Udinese, Higuain & Co. currently sit fourth, but just two points behind leaders Fiorentina.