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What’s with the Gonzalo Higuain Rumors?

Is it just me, or have you guys noticed how silent things seem to be when we are winning games?

The official site has been doing its bit to keep staying afloat with post-FA Cup articles littered everywhere. Arsene Wenger has spoken about his decision to play Mathieu Debuchy ahead of the in-form Hector Bellerin and the boss also stated that the team had learned from their hiccups. Per Mertesacker was all about his happiness in reaching the final yet again and with Francis Coquelin keeping Mikel Arteta out of the side, the BFG could be the man to lead the lads out. The most recent article on the site is about Santi Cazorla telling Arsenal Player how spectacular Alexis Sanchez is. Like we didn’t know yeah?

The summer transfer window is two months away but the media vultures haven’t stopped in cooking up articles for reasons best known to them. That’s how the Daily Star has reported that the Gunners are in “pole position” to sign Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli this summer. lol! The Argentine forward has scored 13 Serie A goals this season but he has been in scorching form in the Europa League, netting eight times and with his three strikes in the Coppa Italia his current goalscoring tally stands at 24.

I remember how the Sun published a piece that he had agreed a deal with Arsenal, only to see him move to Italy. When he was linked with the Gunners in the summer of 2013, many believed that he would be an automatic starter in the team ahead of Olivier Giroud. Then Arsenal’s ‘interest’ waned as they pursued Luis Suarez, which turned out to be a futile affair as well. This summer, an injury to Giroud saw the Gunners  snap up Danny Welbeck from Manchester United but with eight goals in 31 appearances, it doesn’t look as if the team could really rely on him if anything happens to Giroud.

In the Gunners last game against Reading, Wenger gave Giroud a breather and fielded Welbeck as the center forward with Alexis and Aaron Ramsey providing support from the flanks. Welbeck is usually renowned for his good off the ball movement and positioning but he was flat and offered the team no focal point in attack. The attacking play had some bite immediately Giroud came on for Welbeck and it’s fair to say that the team ‘attacked better’ with the French forward’s linkup play.

With the FA Cup final in the bag, the Gunners have five more matches to secure a strong Premier League finish and Arsene Wenger would need his ‘goalscorers’ to come up with the goods between now and May.

We can worry about Higuain in the summer.

Sayonara.

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Latest Updates on Higuain and New 2013/14 Away Kit?

BNnox6nCAAESyT  Leaked Picture! Arsenals brand new 2013 14 away kit is revealed

The real deal or another photoshopped masterpiece?

*wipes dust and cobwebs from blog* 

*coughs profusely*

There hasn’t been some blogging activity here in recent days and like Arsenal’s transfer dealings this summer, the reasons for my leave of absence are undisclosed. -________-

To be brutally honest, nothing has happened much since I was out.

On the international scene, my Nigeria was dumped out of the Confederations Cup after a Jordi Alba-inspired victory for Spain and the world has been spared of the aberration which could also be known as Tahiti’s performance in the tournament.

OMG! There’s a carpenter between the sticks and a bricklayer on the right wing. Of course there’s the high school striking (still better than Marouane Chamakh) and that good ol’ gardener in attacking midfield. Super Story.

In the other group, Japan and Mexico crashed out of the tournament and one of the highlights of the Japs’ campaign was the enthralling 4-3 defeat to Italy – the kinda game that makes the hair at the back of one’s neck stand.

The first semifinal match took place last night with the hosts, Brazil, seeing out eternal rivals, Uruguay, in a game Diego Forlan would want to forget but on the bright side, no one was bitten by Luis Suarez. Those Aliens from Iberia take on the team they trounced in the Euro 2012 final and we all hope to see a better performance from the Ities, even if we all have a hunch who the eventual winner would…could be.

Moving over to more Arsenal-related issues, a couple of sites have released pictures of what would be the Gunners’ away kit for the forthcoming campaign, as the home kit looks set to be retained.

This may be one of the numerous photoshopped pictures we’ve seen in the past but I have a hunch that it could be the real deal. The official away kit will be released soon but this classic yellow jersey with a blue trim on the collar and at the end of the sleeves reminds me of Arsenal’s O2-sponsored away kit of the Invincibles season.

One of my fondest Arsenal memories

Many Gooners will have mixed opinions about the jersey, if this is what we are going to settle for. While some are happy to see a vintage Arsenal away color back after last season’s Purple and Black Rain Pain, some feel that Nike has lost their mojo and are waiting patiently for the Puma deal to come to fruition in the start of the 2014/15 campaign for the financial implications.

Should Arsenal conclude the kit sponsorship deal with Puma, it would make the end of a 20-year spell with Nike and in my honest opinion, I’ve seen and bought some lovely kits while I’ve been quite perplexed with some of Nike’s designs in the past as well.

This jersey still gives me nightmares…

Let’s keep our fingers cross as we wait patiently for the club to release the official away kit for the 2013/14 season. Dunno about you but I’m gonna get me one.

Moving on to more important news, Arsenal fans have been anticipating the potential arrival of Real Madrid’s goal poacher, Gonzalo Higuain, after the Telegraph had reported that the Gunners made a bid in excess of 22 million pounds. Shortly afterwards, the Guardian quoted that the player had agreed personal terms with the club and it was believed that he was set to be among the highest earners at the club.

Apparently, everyone has an opinion in regard to his potential move to Arsenal and I wasn’t surprised when his father, Jorge Higuain, stated that there’s a possibility of the forward joining Juventus, even though they’ve completed the signing of Argentine hot-head, Carlos Tevez, who would fight for places in attack with new signing, Fernando Llorente, as well as incumbent strikers like Alessandro Matri, Mirko Vuninic, Fabio Quagliarella and to a reasonable extent, Sebastian Giovinco.

Out of the blue, Gonzalo’s brother, Nicolas Higuain, has quelled “daddy’s quotes” and he stated that lil’ ol’ Gonzalo will be joining Arsenal after all,

‘If Tevez joins Juve, is Higuain closer to Arsenal? I think so.

‘Juventus is a great club, but Gonzalo is too expensive for them.

‘Napoli are a strong team. Having said that, I cannot deny that Gonzalo is now close to Arsenal.’

When we thought we’ve heard it all, the Times has cooked up a ludicrous story stating that Real Madrid’s new boss, Carlo Ancelotti, is set to offer Fabio Coentrao and yours truly, Gonzalo Higuain, as bait to land Welsh sensation, Gareth Bale. Firstly, I’d learned that Madrid publicly reserved the No. 11 jersey for Bale, now this?

With Barcelona tying up a deal for Neymar, it was believed that their fierce title-chasing rivals were on the look out for a mega signing. Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale were linked to the Spanish outfit but the Tottenham president, Daniel Levy, placed a mammoth price tag on his most prized asset. Swap exchange deals have become part and parcel of the beautiful game and Arsenal had a first-hand experience of this kind of business when that mercenary William Gallas came to North London in a deal that saw Ashley Cole go the other way.

Whether this recent development in the Higuain saga has an element of truth or is just plain bollocks, we will have to keep our fingers crossed as things progress.

With Manchester City losing out to Chelsea in sealing a deal for Edinson Cavani, I won’t be surprised if they poke their noses to potentially hijack Gonzalo Higuain from all his suitors. They certainly have the financial power to make a punt for the Argentine goal getter.

I will monitor the Higuain situation closely and I will give more updates as they happen.

Elsewhere, Arsenal are set to offload their longest-serving player, Johan Djourou, to some Bundesliga teams while Zenit St. Petersburg are odds on to revive Andrey Arshavin’s dead football career. Fairytale stuff for hobbit-sized Russian.

Bonus ReadingCasting Arsenal Players as Hollywood Movie Characters. Trust me, it’s worth a read.

It’s good to be back doing what I love.

Sayonara.

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10 Things You Need to Know About Gonzalo Higuain

I hope he comes to the Emirates

In recent weeks, Arsenal’s Chief Executive, Ivan Gazidis, has spoken about how the club has become financially capable to compete with the big boys for top talent in world football. He also conducted a Q and A session with the fans, where he gave a listening ear to their thoughts and responded in the manner you would expect from a skilled orator like him.

Many top European teams have gone through transitional phases this summer as some football managers have found new employers ahead of what would be one hell of a 2013/14 campaign. In the Premier League, the three teams that finished above Arsenal saw their managers depart after last season ended with fresh yet familiar blood coming in to replace them.

David Moyes spent 11 seasons with Everton and the stage has been set for him to take over the reins of one of the most successful football clubs in the history of the game. After changing more managers than babies change diapers, Chelsea’s Russian oligarch, Roman Abramovich, rolled back the years to sign Jose Mourinho, a favorite with the media vultures. After completing the signings of Jesus Navas from Sevilla and Fernandinho from Shakhtar, the oil sheikhs of Manchester City are set to sign Manuel Pellegrini that recently vacated his post in Malaga.

Mourinho’s departure from Real Madrid has left the club with a decision to make regarding the next manager to challenge Barcelona for the Liga BBVA next season but with no manager at the helm of affairs in the Bernabeu, transfer business cannot take place as the new man will have to access his squad before taking a decision on the players to keep and offload.

Tell that to Manchester City…

Gazidis has stated that the club is targeting players in manager-less clubs and you don’t need any soothsayer to tell you that a player from manager-less Real Madrid is among this lot. At least, the Evening Standard, Daily Mirror and Goal have all published articles linking Real Madrid’s star striker, Gonzalo Higuain, to Arsenal.

Gonzalo Higuain is one of the hottest prospects in the transfer market at the moment, and like Arsenal, he’s also linked with a move to Italian giants, Juventus, that have already completed the signing of Fernando Llorente from Athletic Bilbao.

The prospect of signing Higuain will certainly make Arsenal fans lick their lips in anticipation of what they would herald as a very good signing but some fans have taken the news with a pinch of salt.

Without further ado, here are 10 things you need to know about Arsenal’s potential acquisition.

He Wants to Leave Real Madrid

Perhaps, this is the most important thing you need to know about Gonzalo Higuain.

This season, Higuain faced off with arch-rival, Karim Benzema, for the right to be Real Madrid’s alpha-dog in spearheading the attack. Jose Mourinho’s 4-2-3-1 formation permits the use of only one striker and he favored the French maverick ahead of the Argentine poacher which yielded in Benzema scoring more goals than Higuain.

After opening the scoring in Real Madrid’s 4-2 win over Osasuna, Higuain waited for the game to be over before dropping a bombshell to the Madrid faithful,

“I feel like my time here has come to an end, I want to go where they show me that I’m really loved.

“I need a change of scenery. The decision has been made.

“I want to go where I can prove myself really. I have several offers. I hope that [Madrid] do the best for me and for themselves.

“I was never given anything here, I always had to fight to the death. I came for €12 million but I think I will sell for more.”

Hallelujah somebody!!!

He is a Lethal Finisher

I once described Robin van Persie as a perpetual goalscoring machine of the first kind. I would describe Gonzalo Higuain as a device that delivers at least 20 goals per season with clinical accuracy.

In his past five seasons with Real Madrid, Higuain always surpassed the 20-goal mark (smashed in 29 goals in the 2009/10 season) with the exception of the 2010/11 campaign when he was diagnosed with a herniated lumbar disc that required surgery.

After spending a considerable chunk of the season out recuperating from his successful operation, Higuain returned back to the pitch in stunning fashion by smashing a hat-trick in 6-3 win over Valencia. He also supplied assists to Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka in the same game.

Higuain’s composure in front of goal is very outstanding and he’s up there with the best finishers in the business today.

His Chance Conversion Rate is Remarkably Impressive

According to stats king, Orbinho, Gonzalo Higuain had a chance conversion rate of 43 percent in the 2011/12 season and 32 percent last season (no penalties, Cristiano Ronaldo was going to play them anyway). The chance completion rate for an average Premier League striker is 16 percent.

Higuain smashed in 26 goals in the 2011/12 campaign which also included his 100th goal for the club, in a game against Osasuna in March.

Imagine if it was Higuain that received that late through pass from Santi Cazorla against Sunderland (home), that late chance against Chelsea at home and the early chance against them away, Aaron Ramsey’s inch-perfect through ball against Everton (home) or that one on one against Newcastle (away).

We all know how the outcomes would have panned out.

His Goalscoring Record for Argentina is Awesome

Higuaín is one of only three foreign-born players to have played for Argentina in a FIFA World Cup and he had initially rejected call-ups from the Argentine National team and France (country of his birth) as he was largely undecided on the nation to represent.

His father, Jorge Higuain, was an uncapped Argentine defender that plied his trade in prolific Argentine outfits like San Lorenzo, Boca Juniors and River Plate but he made a rear move to Stade Brestios in France, where he gave birth to his son, Gonzalo.

Gonzalo Higuain marked his debut for the Argentine National team with a brace against Guatemala in 2008 and he has gone on to score 20 goals in 32 appearances for the team, making him the 10th highest goalscorer for his nation. The only player above Higuain in the goalscoring rankings still playing is that wizard, Lionel Messi, that has 32 goals in 81 caps.

However, it would take some stuffing from Higuain to displace the current top three goalscorers for the country, Gabriel Batistuta (56), Hernan Crespo (35) and Diego Maradona (32). There’s still the goalscoring threat of Lionel Messi to contend with.

File:FIFA World Cup 2010 Argentina South Korea2.jpg

Higuain celebrating his hat-trick against South Korea in the 2010 World Cup

He’s Very Good at Tennis

For those that don’t know, Gonzalo Higuain, like many footballers like him, also has a life outside football.

In his spare time, he likes to play some tennis, and he claims that he’s damn good at it.

“I love tennis and would be a good idea to practice given the level that is in the circuit.

“Yes, I would have liked to be a tennis player, but my dream was to be a footballer and I got it.

“It would be great to exchange blows with Rafael Nadal, which I love his delivery, Roger Federer, as well as my fellow compatriots, David Nabaldián and Martin Del Potro” – Gonzalo Higuain

He has French Roots

Jorge Higuain (aged 56) played some competitive football from 1976 to 1992, stamping his authority in the defensive lines of several Argentine clubs in the Apertura.

He began his career in Neuva Chicago before moving to Gimnasia La Plata in 1981. After stints with San Lorenzo and Boca Juniors, Jorge Higuain made a move abroad to Stade Brestois 29 in 1987, the year he gave birth to his son, Gonzalo.

After spending one season with Brest, Jorge and his family relocated back to Argentina, as he was signed by River Plate. This meant that Gonzalo was just 10 months old when he returned to a place he could call home. As a young lad, Higuain played in the youth teams of River Plate before breaking into the first team in 2004, when he was 17.

Higuain in River Plate

He played for two more years in River Plate before he was snapped up by Real Madrid.

With a manager like Arsene Wenger known for having a penchant for signing French players, someone should tip him off that Higuain actually has some French roots in him, and he even holds a French passport as well.

This is a player that was stuck in a crossroad on whether to represent France or Argentina. He chose the latter, and has flourished ever since.

His Technique On and Off the Ball is Pleasing On the Eye

Football has really evolved in recent times and one of the traits every player needs to have on a basic level is technique, except you’re a certain Gervais Yao Kouassi.

Gonzalo Higuain is widely known for his clinical ability in front of goal, but his positioning and off the ball movement for a pass is exemplary. He also possesses a decent amount of pace and his ambidexterity with both feet makes him a very good asset as he can finish with both feet with consummate ease.

Higuain’s first touch is a key attribute that he uses well to get on the end of somewhat difficult passes from his teammates at times. There are times when the Argentine treats the football like a pet especially when he wants to put it in a position to pull the trigger.

His Personal Approach to Life is Worth Emulating

Footballers grab the headlines for their on the field as well as off the field antics. While a player like Bacary Sagna is known for his ambassadorial positions with Grassroots Soccer, a player like Cristiano Ronaldo is renowned for his escapades with the opposite sex.

Mario Balotelli is certainly in a world of his own though. No arguments here.

Gonzalo Higuain on the other hand, is a sincere man, likes video games, takes a lot of time to relax, likes travelling, loves music and he has no folds when talking about people dreams and their preferences when forced to choose priorities in his life.

Most importantly, places a high priority when dealing with his family and friends,

“For me, family and lifelong friends are the most important thing you have. When I’m with them I forget everything, and I hope to have them always at my side, that’s my dream.

“It’s something I can not quit. To the family, because it is my blood, because true friends are treasures to be carefully watched, since they are going to be with you through thick and thin”

He Will Blend Easily in Arsenal’s Style of Play

A highly technically-proficient player like Higuain will fit into Arsenal’s fluid and intricate style of football that involves the use of a steady passing play, great off the ball movement, the use of a playmaker, target man and a patient build-up while frustrating the opposition defense.

Higuain is a technically adept footballer that is good with the ball at his feet. He knows how to link his teammates up, how to hold up the ball to bring his teammates into the game and he lays assists to his teammates making him a complete all round center forward.

It’s more than likely that if bought, Higuain will spearhead Arsenal’s attack alongside Theo Walcott on the right and Lukas Podolski / Santi Cazorla on the left. Arsenal is blessed with a plethora of creative midfielders, so Higuain will feel right at home, as he will be odds on to receive those defense-splitting through balls that are like a hot knife cutting butter.

He Will Give Arsenal Another Dimension in Attack

At this point in time, Olivier Giroud is Arsenal’s No. 1 center forward with a style best suited for the target men of world football. He’s very good in linking up play, has a great build to bully opposition defenders and he’s a massive threat in the air, both defensive and offensively.

In his debut campaign with the club, Giroud scored 17 goals in all competitions, as well as creating 12 assists for his teammates. While this may be widely regarded as a success by some margins, Giroud still has his fair share of critics as he failed to step up when the Gunners needed him in critical games against stronger opposition.

While we may have to cut him some slack for trying his possible best to fill van Persie’s shoes, signing a player as renowned as Gonzalo Higuain will be an eye opener for Giroud, and the competition for first-team places will certainly bring out the best in the Frenchman as it worked a treat with Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal.

Unlike Giroud that plays like a classic target man, Gonzalo Higuain offers Arsenal a different approach as he’s more like a predator in the box, sniffing on half chances and through balls before dispatching the ball past the opposition goalkeeper. This certainly indicates that opposition defenses will have more things to worry about when playing Arsenal.

Arsenal will have to break bank to sign Higuain, so that burden of expectation will spur him to deliver, and there will also be the threat of Giroud to contend with.

Conclusion

The fans have wailed for the Arsenal hierarchy to sign a striker in the molds of Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie. Gonzalo Higuain ticks all those boxes.

At 25, he’s young, his past records speak in volumes and his capture could bring a change in Arsenal’s fortunes, as signing a player of his caliber will make the fans and players believe that the club is ready to challenge for titles this season.

We need to hold Gazidis to these quotes.

Higuain’s talents are undoubted and unrivaled. Let’s pay the market rate!!!

Let me wet your appetite with a nice meal of Higuain on YouTube.

Sayonara

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