Transfer Talk: Arsenal chase Higuain, but where are Cavani and Lewandowski headed?

We run through the latest talking points in world football and which stars could be on the move this summer

It’s all goals goals goals this week, with strikers at the top of shopping lists for some of Europe’s biggest clubs.

Arsenal have made enquiries for Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain, while Napoli star Edinson Cavani admitted to us that he’d like to work under Jose Mourinho or Manuel Pellegrini, and we still don’t know where Robert Lewandowski or Wayne Rooney will end up …

To discuss these and all the other whispers, James Richardson is joined by Goal‘s Greg Stobart and former Aston Villa and England defender Ugo Ehiogu as we go through the latest talk from the transfer market.

Ultimate summer transfer targets: Gonzalo Higuain

The Argentine has announced his intention to leave Real Madrid this summer following reduced first-team opportunities, with Arsenal and Juventus both interested

By Martin Langer

Few players have been so criticised and, yet, so effective as Gonzalo Higuain at Real Madrid. Since his arrival at los Blancos, aged 19, the striker caused controversy with the €12 million transfer fee that the board, then led by Ramon Calderon, paid for a then-unknown Argentinian youngster who failed to impress during his first season at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Now, after over half a decade and with 122 Madrid goals, Higuain’s value is up for debate again, only this time the Spanish side look set to be doing the selling, with Juventus and Arsenal having already made moves for the striker.

Back when he arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu in the 2006-07 season, Higuain scored just two goals in his 19 league outings and fans were soon calling his for head. To many, his spell at the club was nearing an end before truly even starting.

However, the career of ‘Pipita’ was just taking off; he found the net eight times in 25 league games in his second term – he never scored less than 10 goals again – and three times topped the twenty-goal mark.

Nevertheless, he was never a stalwart for the team. His best season, 2009-10 was the only time he could have been considered a surefire starter, a status that was promptly erased after the departure of Manuel Pellegrini and Jose Mourinho’s arrival. Since then, Higuain has had to share duties with Karim Benzema, whom Madrid fans always considered more talented but less committed.

At the end of the 2011-12 season, ‘Pipita’ handed in a transfer request. Mourinho convinced him to stay with the promise of more first-team minutes, but those never materalised. The Argentine striker started 10 games less and scored eight goals less than the previous season.
So, at the end of the last game against Osasuna, he announced his irrevocable decision. “I’m leaving Real Madrid. I have spent seven years here and my decision is not rash. I never took anything for granted here and always had to fight to get what I wanted. I came for €12m and will be sold for a lot more. I’ve accomplished a lot here.”

The problem is, it is one thing for Higuain to reveal his intention to leave the Bernabeu but quite another for Madrid to facilitate it. After the announcement, president Florentino Perez insisted no player would leave easily if the club were not keen to sell and immediately put a €30m [£25.5m] price-tag on the striker, far more than the €18m [£15.3m] that, initially, Juventus were willing to offer.

From that moment on, Higuain’s situation has become more complicated and rumours have linked him with a new potential suitor each week. The Serie A champions remain the most likely destination, and reports in both Italy and Spain indicate that negotiations between the two clubs and the player have progressed, albeit at a very slow pace. In fact, the only offer that the striker has accepted is from the Turin outfit.

At the same time, the stalling discussions have allowed other parties to express an interest, such as the case of Arsenal who, as revealed by Goal, have made an enquiry for Higuain, and are willing to break the £20m [€23.5m] barrier to secure the striker. The Gunners, though, are not prepared to cough up the €30m Perez is asking for.

It must also be noted that Real Madrid are still searching for Jose Mourinho’s replacement, whether it be Carlo Ancelotti or whoever else, to rule on the matter. The forward market is expensive, possible suitable replacements are sparse. For example, Robert Lewandowski may be at the peak of his powers but it is worth considering selling a player that has already acclimated to the team and the city and replace him with someone who could suffer to adapt to a new league and the high-pressure environment in place at Madrid.

At the same time, Higuain has shown in his years with los Blancos that he is a very good striker, physically strong and with a huge heart, but just not a superstar. What Madrid need now are players that can, at least, boost the confidence of their fans and promise to help the team take a step forward. The Argentine fits that bill.

However, he is keen to try his luck elsewhere. Madrid will likely sell the striker to the highest bidder due to his stronger reputation elsewhere than with the club itself. So, it should come as no surprise that we will soon wake up to the news that ‘Pipita’ has packed his bags and is setting sail for Italy or England.

Juventus have no reason to be upset if Milan approach Tevez, says Galliani

The Milan director is not impressed with the Serie A champions’ supposed discontent and has stressed they will open talks with the striker whenever they want to

AC Milan will not let Juventus’ alleged interest in Carlos Tevez get in the way of a potential bid for the striker, says Adriano Galliani.

The Milan CEO suggested earlier this week the San Siro side could rival the Turin giants for the 29-year-old’s signature, allegedly angering the Juventus chiefs with his comments.

However, Galliani has made it clear Milan do not feel any obligation towards Juve to stay away from Tevez.

“I have not heard anything from Juventus and I don’t know why they would have any reason to be upset,” Galliani told reporters.

“I have not talked to Tevez, but I might do so in the future. Either way, we are not doing anything illegal by talking to the player.

“We have not opened talks with City at the moment, but they know that we have been their best customers in recent years. We took Robinho, Nigel de Jong and Mario Balotelli from them.”

Tevez has a contract with Manchester City until 2014, but he is keen to leave the club this summer.

West Ham in talks with AC Milan veteran Ambrosini

The 36-year-old midfielder’s agent confirmed his client is talking to the Premier League club over a potential switch following his release from the San Siro outfit after 18 years

West Ham are in talks with Massimo Ambrosini following the veteran midfielder’s release from AC Milan, according to the player’s agent.

The 36-year-old’s contract at the San Siro expires at the end of June and CEO Adriano Galliani confirmed on Tuesday the club captain would not be retained for the forthcoming season.

Ambrosini spent 18 years with the Rossoneri after arriving from Cesena in 1995 and is now available on a free transfer with Hammers boss Sam Allardyce earmarking the Italy international as a potential transfer target.

Ambrosini’s representative, Moreno Roggi, revealed interest from Major League Soccer has been rejected, but retirement is not on the cards

“Obviously Massimo wants to continue,” Roggi told the Calciomercato website.

“His preference would be overseas clubs, but if an offer did come in from an Italian side, we would not ignore it completely.

“At this moment we are in talks with West Ham, while we have already ruled out Major League Soccer.”

Draxler 'dreams' of Barcelona or Real Madrid move

The 19-year-old recently penned a new five-year deal with Schalke, but says a switch to either the Liga giants or Chelsea and Manchester United would be hard to turn down

Schalke star Julian Draxler has admitted a potential move to Barcelona or Real Madrid would be a “dream”.

The 19-year-old penned a new contract in May to keep him at the Gelsenkirchen club until 2018, after insisting he would remain at the Bundesliga outfit for the upcoming 2013-14 season.

However, following concrete interest from Borussia Dortmund, Draxler says a move to the two Liga giants, plus Chelsea or Manchester United, could see him leave the Veltins-Arena.

“Which boy doesn’t dream about playing for Real, Barca, Chelsea or Manchester United? That’s nothing to be ashamed of,” he told Sport1. The attacking midfielder, who has six caps for the national side, has a €45.5 million release clause, and the player’s representative, Roger Wittmann, insists the full figure will have to be met to trigger a departure from Schalke.

“The player costs 45.5 million, and he has to agree. These are the conditions of the transfer,” Wittmann told Bild.

Reports in the British press on Wednesday have linked new Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho with a move for Draxler, but the Schalke sporting director, Horst Heldt, has insisted the Blues are yet to confirm any interest.

Heldt told Bild: “There has been no official transfer enquiry from Chelsea. and we are not in contact with them.

“But, it must be noted, there will always be interest in players with the qualities Julian Draxler has.”