It has finally happened. Maurizio Sarri has gotten his wish, but it’s a win-win for all involved. Probably. Hopefully.
Striker Gonzalo Higuaín has finally arrived at Stamford Bridge, on a six-month loan deal, with a possibility of a further twelve, plus a buy-option. For at least the initial part of that complicated arrangement, Chelsea are reportedly taking over 31-year-old’s loan from Milan, paying €9m to Juventus in loan fees, and holding the €36m buy-option that is surely quite likely to NOT get exercised.
Higuaín is the best striker Sarri has ever worked with, and despite his declining form, should be able to settle in quite quickly, hopefully rediscovering some of the magic touch that got him to score at least 20 goals in 8 of the last 10 seasons. (He has 8 in 22 appearances so far this season.)
“When the opportunity to join Chelsea presented itself I had to take it. It’s a team I’ve always liked that has a lot of history, a wonderful stadium and they play in the Premier League, a league I’ve always wanted to play in. I now hope I can give back that trust Chelsea have shown me out on the pitch. I can’t wait to start and I hope to adapt as soon as possible.”
-Gonzalo Higuain; source: Chelsea FC
Born in France, Higuaín spent his childhood in Argentina before returning to Europe as a 19-year-old to join Real Madrid from River Plate. In his 7.5 years at Santiago Bernabéu, he amassed a very respectable 121 goals in 264 matches.
Despite that, in the summer of 2013, he was made available for transfer, and Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis was sharp and swift to beat all others to his signature. The €40m-man did quite well in front of goal in his first two seasons, filling the sizable shoes of Edinson Cavani, who had left to PSG, but it was the third season that really makes his current move to Chelsea exciting.
Under the guidance of then new Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri, Higuaín set a new Serie A record with 36 goals in 35 matches (38 in 42 in all competitions) and leveraged them into a then Italian record €90m move to Juventus. Despite the scrutiny, expectations, and criticisms, Higuain scored 55 goals in 105 appearances (40 in 73 in the league) for the Old Lady in the years, before being deemed surplus to requirements and making way for Cristiano Ronaldo this past summer.
Higuain’s time in Milan wasn’t happiest, but now that’s all behind him.
“Gonzalo was our number one target in this transfer window and arrives with a proven record at the highest level. He has previously worked with Maurizio to great effect and is familiar with how the coach likes to play.
“This was not an easy deal for us to do because of the numerous parties involved, but we are delighted we were able to make it happen and we look forward to seeing the impact Gonzalo will make for us in the second half of the season.”
-Marina Granovskaia; source: Chelsea FC
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