Napoli may have successfully warned the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool off star striker Gonzalo Higuain, after releasing a statement to the effect that any interested clubs will have to meet the burly Argentine’s hitherto unheralded £67m release clause.
The suspicion is that Arsene Wenger would rather sign Grant Holt and start lumping long balls before sanctioning such a fee, even for a player with 53 goals in 104 games since signing for the Partenopei two summers ago.
Hold off on giving Wigan a call about Holt Arsene! We’ve got three far cheaper Higuain alternatives right here:
After finding his feet in Ligue 1 with four unremarkable seasons prior to 2013/14, when he bagged a decent haul of 15 goals in 36 appearances, Lacazette stormed to the top of the French scorer charts last term with 27 in just 31 fixtures.
Recent rumours suggest the eight-cap Les Bleus man is a long way off signing a new deal at Stade de Gerland, with his agent claiming his client has plenty of offers from around Europe.
Lacazette craves the chance to shine ahead of France hosting the European Championship next summer, and the Emirates would provide a solid platform. Around £30m should be enough to land the 24-year-old.
There’s fresh talk in the rumour mill from the Colombia striker’s agent, who claims that Liverpool were among the clubs he and Bacca considered as potential summer destinations prior to jetting off to Chile for the Copa America.
If the Merseyside outfit are in with a chance of signing the Sevilla striker, who posted a fine all-competitions tally of 28 goals last term, then surely the Champions League group stage-bound Gunners will also appeal.
Arsene Wenger doesn’t really have a mobile, out-and-out number nine option within his ranks, and Bacca’s release clause is reported to be just £21m, around 30 per cent of Higuain’s.
It took this Japan international a while to get going in Germany after leaving his homeland four-and-a-half seasons ago, with Okazaki managing just 10 goals in 63 Bundesliga appearances for Stuttgart, but he has caught fire since moving to Mainz at the end of the 2012/13 campaign.
A 15-goal haul in Germany’s top flight during his first season at the Coface Arena was followed by 12 more last term, putting him among the league’s top ten deadliest forwards for the second year running.
The added bonus of opening up the Japanese market, which Arsenal have tried and failed to do before with Junichi Inamoto and Ryo Myaichi, would be useful for the Emirates board, but this boy can clearly play a bit too.
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