Arsenal officials fly to Madrid to finalise Gonzalo Higuain deal
London: Arsenal officials have flown out to Madrid to finalise the deal to bring Gonzalo Higuain to the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners delegation will hold top-level talks with their Real Madrid counterparts this weekend as the two clubs negotiate a fee for the Argentina international.
As reported on Thursday, Higuain has already agreed personal terms with Arsenal ahead of a move that is increasingly likely to be completed within the next 10 days.
Preliminary discussions have already taken place between Arsenal and Madrid on a fee for the 25-year-old, and the exact figure is expected to be settled in the Spanish capital over the weekend.
The Gunners are hopeful that an offer around the 23 million euros mark can close the deal, while los Blancos are holding out for around 30m euros.
It is understood that Arsene Wenger could make an appearance during the discussions at some point over the weekend.
Arsenal have agreed a contract with Higuain that will start with a salary of 116,000-euros-a-week, which will bring him in line with the club’s top earners Theo Walcott and skipper Thomas Vermaelen but, contrary to reports, will not shatter the club’s wage bill.
Nevertheless, Higuain will pocket a bumper pay rise if he completes a move to the Gunners as he is believed to be earning a relatively modest 74,500-euros-a-week at Santiago Bernabeu.
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 23m euros plus fee.
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 26m euros release clause in Marouane Fellaini’s Everton contract but have not yet been given the all clear to hold official talks with the player, who is currently on holiday.
Wenger has also shown strong interest in Wayne Rooney and Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic, but Higuain has been told he can leave by Madrid and the deal is viewed by Arsenal as easier to secure.
The Argentina star 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 Williams from Swansea City and goalkeeper Julio Cesar from QPR.