LONDON: Arsenal are confident they are about to land Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain from Real Madrid for Arsenal for £23m. Higuaín had also received an offer from Juventus but the Italian champions could not seal a deal with Madrid; they signed Carlos Tevez from Manchester City instead.
Jorge Higuain, the player’s father and agent, confirmed: “I will soon be able to watch my son play in the Premier League.” However Higuain’s expected arrival last Thursday has been postponed until early this week while the clubs negotiate among last details of the deal.
Higuain, 25, is expected to be paid a basic £100,000-a-week. He has scored 107 league goals in 190 games over the past six and a half seasons but has never really established himself as first-choice centre-forward.
The Argentinean’s arrival should not be a problem for Lukas Podolski whose role was uncertain following the departure of Robin Van Persie soon after his arrival last summer. He can concentrate on a wide-running support role
Podolski is already reported to have said: “It is always good when good players come in. I don’t worry about a specific player and it is certainly not a problem. I am strong enough and I have qualities. And when good players come in, I will play with good players.
“Every season players come in and players go. But I think it is good news if top players come in.
“The hope is that this season Arsenal will be at the top of the league. English football, thankfully, is not like Spain where you only have two teams — Barcelona and Real Madrid — who fight at the top.
“In the Premier League you have five, six, even seven top, top teams. It is very difficult but I know that Arsenal are one of those top teams who will be involved.”
In other transfer activity Arsenal have signed 20-year-old French youth international striker Yaya Sanogo whose contract with Auxerre had expired. He is currently with semi-finalists France at the FIFA World Under-20 Cup in Turkey.
Arsenal have sold Italian goalkeeper Vito Mannone to Sunderland where he will replace Liverpool-bound Simon Mignolet. Andrei Arshavin has finally gone home to Zenit St Petersburg while midfielder Denilson has had his loan to Sao Paulo converted into a permanent move.
On Thursday the Gunners fly to Indonesia then go on to Vietnam. Later they play manager Arsene Wenger’s old club, Nagoya Grampus Eight, in Japan before heading to Tokyo for their final tour game against Urawa Red Diamonds.
Arsenal return to London to stage the Emirates Cup, playing Napoli and Galatasaray, before completing their build-up with a friendly against Manchester City in Helsinki.
One fun preparation for the tour was a players’ quiz with Podolski representing Vietnam, Theo Walcott Japan and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Indonesia.
Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain incorrectly guessed at the location of a famous temple, Podolski got the sport sumo wrestling wrong and only Walcott knew which Japanese club Wenger had managed.