In a deal that has rocked Italian football, Juventus have, according to multiple sources today, completed the signing of Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuaín in a deal worth €90m.
The fee makes the 28-year-old the third most expensive player of all time, behind only Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo
The Italian giants are set to officially unveil Higuaín as a Juventus player in due course.
Napoli had been desperate to keep hold of their star striker this summer, but were powerless to stop him from leaving once Juve activated his release clause. Higuaín had made no secret of his desire to leave the San Paolo after three years at the club, and had been linked with moves to big teams across Europe for much of the summer.
When the two clubs met last week to discuss a potential deal, Napoli had made it quite clear that the only way they would sell is if their hand was forced, and Juve duly obliged. His medical was completed in Madrid over the weekend, and it seemed that the final piece of the deal was simply Juventus actually triggering the clause.
He has signed a four-deal with the club worth approximately €145, 000 per week plus image rights.
The structure of the deal is such that Juventus will pay the transfer fee across two years – €45m now, and the second half next year. Therefore, they are likely to move on fringe players such as Simone Zaza, Mario Lemina and Roberto Pereyra to fund the deal. In that respect, this transfer is totally unrelated to Paul Pogba’s expected departure.
— Juvefc.com (@juvefcdotcom) July 23, 2016
The 28-year-old scored 36 goals in 35 Serie A matches last season, breaking a decades-old record, but Napoli were still no match for the Bianconeri in the race for the Scudetto. Since completing a €40m move to Naples in 2013, the Argentine international scored 91 goals in 146 matches in all competitions, as well as being named in the Serie A Team of the Year in his first season at the club.
Attention now turns to who Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri. will recruit to replace the now-departed star.
The attraction of Champions League football may be a key factor in finding a replacement, and therefore their interest in players such as Inter’s Mauro Icardi and Carlos Bacca of Milan would likely be reciprocated.
Higuaín, meanwhile, will be seen by Juve boss Max Allegri as a massive asset in their push for the Champions League trophy.