Although Arsenal have found an attacking rhythm this season, their strikeforce might could perhaps have looked markedly different.
In utilising Alexis Sánchez as the main forward, Arsenal have not excatly found goals hard to come by as they reap the benefits of having a fluid, dynamic attack.
However, things might have been different had they been successful in their attempt to sign Argentine international striker Gonzalo Higuaín over the summer.
Higuaín, then of Napoli, was the subject of interest from some of Europe’s top clubs after a season in which he scored a highly-impressive 36 goals in 35 Serie A games.
Partenopei president Aurelio De Laurentiis has confirmed that Arsenal were one of a number clubs to contact the club about potentially signing the 28-year-old.
He told Standard Sport:
“We received a request from Arsenal.
“Personally I also received a request from Atletico Madrid but they didn’t put enough money on the table.”
(Atlético bid €60m plus the possibility of a player exchange)
“We were not ready to sell him – for me Higuain was not for sale.”
Unfortunately for De Laurentiis, Higuaín was very much for sale, and Juventus ended all prospect of negotiation by triggering the forward’s €90m release clause. He ended up moving to Juve, and has started the season well by scoring seven goals in nine games in all competitions.
De Laurentiis did not disclose how much Arsenal had bid for Higuaín, but it was unlikely to be anywhere near the amount Juventus ultimately paid for him.
This is not the first time Arsène Wenger has chased Higuaín’s signature. In 2013, the Premier League club were very much in the running to buy him when it became clear he was leaving Real Madrid. However, the Arsenal boss refused to pay over a certain amount, and he ended up moving to Napoli for €40m.
Which, in turn, led to the bizarre spectacle of Arsenal fans booing Higuaín when he played with Napoli at the Emirates in a pre-season tournament later that summer…