Higuain com­pletes record Juve move

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

GON­ZALO Higuain com­pleted a record-breaking move to Ju­ven­tus after the Ital­ian cham­pi­ons agreed to pay a 90 mil­lion euro (US$98.8 mil­lion) fee, the third-high­est in his­tory, to wrest the Ar­gen­tine striker from Napoli on July 26.

In what is the big­gest-ever trans­fer fee recorded be­tween two Serie A clubs, Higuain’s move to Turin on a five-year deal was con­firmed by Ju­ven­tus, who ne­go­ti­ated nearly 5 mil­lion euros (US$5.49 mil­lion) off Napoli’s ask­ing price.

Napoli had slapped a 94.7 mil­lion euros (U$104 mil­lion) buy­out clause on Higuain’s con­tract after he hit a record 36 goals in the league last sea­son, breaking Gun­nar Nor­dahl’s 66year record of 35 goals for AC Mi­lan (1950).

It is the third-high­est trans­fer fee in his­tory, after Gareth Bale’s move from Tot­ten­ham to Real Madrid for 100.8 mil­lion euros in 2013 and Cris­tiano Ron­aldo’s 2009 move from Manch­ester United to the Span­ish gi­ants for 94 mil­lion euros in 2009.

Higuain also be­comes the most ex­pen­sive South Amer­i­can player in his­tory, his trans­fer pip­ping the 86.2 mil­lion euros Barcelona paid to San­tos for Brazil­ian star­let Ney­mar in 2013.

He may ex­pect sig­nif­i­cant abuse from dis­traught Napoli fans, who likened the Ar­gen­tinian with the club’s leg­endary for­mer striker Diego Maradona dur­ing this past sea­son’s bat­tle for the Serie A ti­tle.

The trans­fer of Higuain, who cost Napoli 40 mil­lion euros when he ar­rived from Real Madrid in 2013, could spark a suc­ces­sion of high-pro­file trans­fers.

Ital­ian me­dia has re­ported Ju­ven­tus would sign Higuain if they con­vinced Manch­ester United to meet their ask­ing price of 125 mil­lion euros for star mid­fielder Paul Pogba.

Napoli, who fin­ished run­ners-up to Ju­ven­tus to se­cure their place in next sea­son’s Cham­pi­ons League, are now in the hunt for a top striker.

In­ter Mi­lan’s Mauro Icardi is top of their shop­ping list, al­though re­ports from the Nether­lands said Ajax were set to sell Pol­ish in­ter­na­tional striker Arka­diusz Mi­lik for more than 35 mil­lion euros.

Higuain’s ar­rival in Turin, mean­while, will add fresh im­pe­tus to their am­bi­tion of win­ning the Cham­pi­ons League. Ju­ven­tus were de­feated 3-1 in the 2015 only to in Ber­lin by Barcelona. –

Photo: EPA

Gon­zalo Higuain cel­e­brates after scor­ing a penalty shot to put Napoli up 1-0 over US Città di Palermo on March 13.

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