Gonzalo Higuain to Arsenal: Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis admits he'd 'like to sell' striker - but only for his £64.7m release clause

Napoli's failure to qualify for the Champions League has prompted speculation that Higuain could seek a move to the Premier League

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The Independent Online

Arsenal have been given the all clear by Napoli to sign Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain – for £64.7m.

Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis laughed off the interest coming from the Premier League as he stressed that any club interested in the former Real Madrid star will need to activate his release clause before they can enter negotiations over a move.

Arsenal were close to signing Higuain when he left Real in 2013, only for the Serie A side to steam in with a considerably larger offer and blow the north London side out of the water in the battle to land his signature.

The 27-year-old has since led the line for Napoli, but is believed to be considering his options after the club missed out on Champions League qualification this season. With former manager Rafael Benitez moving on to pastures new at Real Madrid, Higuain’s exit could spark a new era in Naples, but De Laurentiis insists that is not going to happen anytime soon.

He did admit that he would “like to sell” Higuain, but only because the money that would be generated from any sale would be enough to launch a spending spree on up to eight players.

"Sell Higuain for €90m (£64.7m)? I’d like to sell him," De Laurentiis said in a conversation with a fan that was recorded on a mobile phone.

"That way I can buy eight players for the club!"

While the quote appears to suggest that Napoli are willing to sell Higuain, the truth is actually quite the opposite. Higuain has been the club’s top goalscorer for the past two seasons, bettering his 2013/14 tally of 17 goals by one last time out. Napoli do not wish to sell him this summer, but if a club such as Arsenal decided to activate his €94m release clause there is little the Italian club can do other than ask him not to leave.

Gonzalo-Higuain.jpg
Higuain has scored 53 goals in two years at Napoli

Bookmakers’ slashed odds on Higuain to join Manchester United over the weekend due to Robin van Persie’s departure after the Netherlands striker agreed to join Turkish side Fenerbahce, but Arsenal have continuously been linked with the Argentinian since missing out on him two years ago. With 53 goals in 102 games for Napoli, Higuain’s talent remains unquestioned, but having splashed out £29m on Higuain the club are determined to see a significant return on that sum should he depart in the near future.

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