Arsenal agree €135k-a-week deal with Higuain

Preliminary negotiations have taken place between the Gunners and Real Madrid over a fee for the Argentine but a deal between the clubs is not yet done

Gonzalo Higuain has agreed terms with Arsenal ahead of an increasingly likely move from Real Madrid this summer.

The Londoners have agreed a contract with the Argentinian striker that will start with a salary of €135,000-a-week.

This will bring Higuain in line with Arsenal’s top earners Theo Walcott and skipper Thomas Vermaelen but will not shatter the club’s wage bill.

Nevertheless, Higuain will pocket a bumper pay rise if he joins the Gunners as he is believed to be earning a relatively modest €75,000-a-week at Madrid.

Preliminary negotiations have taken place between Arsenal and Real on a fee for the 25-year-old but it has yet to be agreed and sources say the deal is not quite done.

The Gunners are hopeful that an offer of €23.5 million can close the deal, while the Spanish giants are holding out for around €30m.

Higuain alerted buyers by publicly insisting that he will leave Madrid this summer following six years in the Spanish capital.

Juventus have also made the prolific forward an offer but there are doubts about their willingness to pay a €23.5m-plus fee.

Arsene Wenger has made a concerted move for Higuain as he bids to break the €23m transfer barrier – comfortably breaking the club’s record – on two new players this summer.

As revealed by Goal, Arsenal have also activated the £22m release clause in Marouane Fellaini’s Everton contract but have not yet opened official talks with the player.

Wenger has also shown strong interest in Wayne Rooney and Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic, but Higuain has been told he can leave by Real and the deal is viewed by Arsenal as easier to secure.

The Argentine international has a prolific scoring record at both club and international level and will be regarded as a statement signing if Arsenal can finalise the transfer.

The north Londoners have also made moves to sign centre-back Ashley s from Swansea City and goalkeeper Julio Cesar from QPR.

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Bale will not leave Tottenham this summer, says Villas-Boas

The Welshman is understood to be high on Real Madrid’s list of transfer targets but his manager insists that the forward will be staying put

Andre Villas-Boas insists that Gareth Bale will not leave Tottenham this summer, despite strong interest from Real Madrid.

The Spanish giants have made no secret of their admiration for the Welshman, with president Florentino Perez recently suggesting they would make a bid once a new manager was in place at the Santiago Bernabeu.

However, Villas-Boas has revealed that chairman Daniel Levy has given his word that the 23-year-old will still be at White Hart Lane next season.

“We have the pledge of the chairman that Bale is not going to leave the club,” the boss told Spanish newspaper Marca.

Bale’s 26 goals in all competitions were not enough to secure a place in next season’s Champions League, increasing speculation that he would be seeking a move away.

Tottenham are trying to tie the player down to a lucrative new £130,000 a week contract and have promised to allow him to leave next summer should the club once again fail to finish in the top four in 2012-13.

Having recently turned down a move to Paris Saint-Germain as replacement for Carlo Ancelotti, Villas-Boas will be expecting Spurs to back him financially in order to be able to compete at the highest level, starting with securing last season’s star player.

The Portuguese boss enjoys a strong relationship with Bale, who has credited the former Chelsea manager with helping to improve his game.

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Morata urges Isco to join Real Madrid

The young striker has been telling his Spain Under-21 colleague that the Bernabeu side are the best club in the world and says the future is bright for la Roja

Alvaro Morata has urged Spain Under-21s team-mate Isco to join him at Real Madrid over the course of the summer.

The young playmaker was in fine form for Malaga last term, scoring nine goals in 37 Liga games and leading their charge to the Champions League quarter-finals.

And Morata has been telling his international team-mate to come to the Bernabeu as speculation over a move away from Andalusia intensifies.

“I’ve known Isco for a long time,” he told reporters.

“I know he has the dribbling ability to do that, so it does not surprise me. Trying to put pressure on him, I said that my team is the best in the world.”

Morata was key in la Rojita‘s recent Under-21 European Championship win, claiming the golden boot, and he has now revealed that several Madrid officials such as president Florentino Perez and directors Emilio Butragueno and Miguel Pardeza have congratulated him.

“The president congratulated me and told me that they had me for next season. Pardeza and Butragueno congratulated me every game, I felt very valued,” he added.

“I’m tired from the trip and celebration, but it is a blessed fatigue. I am very happy with what we have achieved and the work of my colleagues, who have worked like animals so I could win the golden boot.

“I liked the messages from important people of Real Madrid, the Spanish captains and club.”

Finally, Morata said he believes that the future is bright for Spain, with the current youngsters ready to push on in the future.

“It’s the best team in the world. The players of the under-21 team can grow together. With Thiago, Isco, [David] de Gea… I do not even see myself as a guaranteed pick.

“The nicest thing of all has been that all the staff stop with our clubs momentarily to be all for the same country, to defend our country and prove that we are the best.”

Usmanov backs Arsenal bid for Rooney

The Uzbek businessman has been a vocal critic of the board’s frugal policy in the past, and has urged the club to splash out for the Manchester United forward

Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov has urged the club to spend big in order to end their trophy drought, and believes Wayne Rooney would be an ideal signing.

The Uzbek-born Russian billionaire’s 29.9 per cent stake makes him the Gunners’ second-biggest shareholder, and he has backed the move for the Manchester United striker.

Rooney is open to the possibility of moving to the Emirates, with Arsene Wenger reportedly ready to meet his £20-25 million fee and hefty £250,000 weekly wage.

“He is a great player, there would be great success for Rooney [if he joined Arsenal], and for Arsenal too,” Usmanov told CNBC.

The richest man in Britain admitted to the growing frustration over Arsenal’s failure to win a trophy since 2005, but insisted that the board is completely behind Wenger.

“We as shareholders point to some drawbacks in the management of the club, but Wenger is a great coach and the club is progressing in the commercial sense,” he continued. “We should trust him.”

“It is high time for the club to win the highest trophies in the European Champions League, but I believe in the club’s future.”
 
The 59-year-old was highly critical of the board following Robin van Persie’s departure for Manchester United last summer, pinpointing a lack of ambition for the club’s inability to compete for major titles.

Cavani: Nothing concrete with Real Madrid

The 26-year-old has been linked with a move to the Burnabeu, but insists there is nothing more to the rumours and he is happy with Napoli

Napoli star Edinson Cavani says there is no concrete link with Real Madrid, despite reports suggesting that he is on his way to the Spanish capital.

The Uruguayan has long been linked with a move to the Bernabeu, with Chelsea and Manchester City also said to be vying for his signature.

And while he admits that los Blancos would be an attractive destination, he insists that he is happy to remain at the San Paolo.

“Real Madrid are one of the strongest clubs in the world, but there is nothing concrete,” the striker told the Corriere dello Sport.

“At the moment I do not know what my future will hold.”

While his future remains uncertain, the Uruguayan is enjoying his time with his current club.

“In Napoli, they trust me.

“I want to play in a club that gives me confidence. I know this is true in Naples, I’m happy to be there.”