For a few moments yesterday, Juventus loanee Gonzalo Higuaín showed that there is still some life left in his old legs, producing an excellent finish for Chelsea’s third goal that made sure all three points were staying at Stamford Bridge. A couple hours later, when the final whistle blew at the Emirates across town, those same three points were enough to guarantee a top four finish and Champions League football next season for the Blues.
Whether that next season arrives with Higuaín still on the books however is far from guaranteed — as much as he seems to be enjoying life, in general, at the club. In fact, it’s probably quite unlikely. Even if Chelsea could circumnavigate the transfer ban by either getting it suspended via appeal or finding a loophole that would allow us to exercise a loan- or buy-option on Higuaín, the factors involved simply don’t make that a likely possibility.
A 5-goal return from 16 appearances in all competitions is hardly anything to get excited about, especially given the 31-year-old’s wages and potential transfer or loan fees, the latter of which alone would be €18m for a full season, while the former would be double that at €36m.
Still, if Sarri’s around for next season, which seems more and more likely with the top four finish achieved, Higuaín’s chances of staying cannot be completely ruled out. Sarri loves all his favorite sons, after all, and appears to firmly believe that some Napoli-magic can still be rekindled at Chelsea, too.
“I don’t know about Gonzalo Higuain’s future, you have to ask the club. But for a striker it is not easy to play here, when you’re used to playing in Spain and Italy. It’s not easy to adapt to this competition because it’s different physically.
“If he’s staying then we can do very well in the next season.”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: BBC Sport
A top for four finish and a possible European final (to go along with one domestic cup final, too) means that Chelsea have done ... alright ... this season. Would a full season of Higuaín help improve on that? I very much doubt it, but alas, I’m not the one making the decisions.