The Serie A runners-up look to have won the race for the Argentine’s signature after Arsenal failed to agree a transfer fee with Real Madrid
By Wayne Veysey | UK correspondent
Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain is poised to join Napoli after agreeing a mammoth contract with Rafa Benitez’s side.
The Serie A runners-up had already settled a €37 million fee with Madrid for the transfer of the Argentine, but image rights threatened to derail negotiations over personal terms.
But those issues were resolved during negotiations on Tuesday and Higuain will now pen a five-year, €163,000-per-week contract worth €42.3m in salary alone.
Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti had previously insisted the striker would not be leaving the club, but has left the player out of the squad for Wednesday’s friendly with Olympique Lyonnais as a move to Italy gathers pace.
Napoli’s transfer business has been funded by the €63m sale of Edinson Cavani to Paris Saint-Germain, and they have already closed two deals with Madrid this summer alone.
Defender Raul Albiol and attacker Jose Maria Callejon have already left Santiago Bernabeu for the San Paolo, while Dries Mertens, Pablo Armero and Rafael, among others, have also joined as Benitez looks to compensate for the loss of the Uruguay hitman.
Arsenal had been confident of wrapping up a deal for Higuain in June, having negotiated a contract worth €116,000-per-week with the 25-year-old.
But the Gunners’ attempts to finalise a deal with Madrid hit the buffers after the Liga runners-up resisted an improved €26.8m offer.
Arsene Wenger has since turned his attentions to Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, with the Londoners submitting a third offer of £35m plus £7m in add-ons on Tuesday.
Wenger recently claimed that the club could afford to pay Wayne Rooney’s wages should the striker leave Manchester United, but a move for Suarez has become the Frenchman’s priority.