Chelsea plan to sign Napoli star Gonzalo Higuain if their own first-choice striker Diego Costa leaves the club for Atletico Madrid this summer, according to reports from Spain and England.
The Blues signed Belgian forward Michy Batshuayi this week, and that transfer could potentially lead to the departure of wantaway striker Diego Costa to Atletico Madrid, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Costa was reportedly unsettled at Stamford Bridge last season despite his outstanding debut campaign in England. Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo claimed last month that the Brazil-born Spain international wants a move back to the Vicente Calderon.
“We are there, he wants to come,” said Cerezo, last month. “Simeone wants new players and one of those is a striker. We desire a striker with goals, a good salary, and the ability to help us win many trophies.”
However, incoming Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is known to prefer the 3-5-2 system, as he has shown during his time at Juventus and with the Italian national team in their recently concluded Euro 2016 campaign.
In the event that Costa leaves Stamford Bridge, Chelsea has made contingency plans to replace him with Napoli goal machine Gonzalo Higuain, according to a report in Spanish newspaper AS. The former Real Madrid striker has had a brilliant season with the Partenopei, winning the Serie A Golden Boot for his record-breaking 36 goals from 35 appearances. The Argentine is now said to be looking for a move to the Premier League.
Higuain’s current contract with Napoli runs out in 2018, and the Argentine has refused to sign a contract renewal with the club. However, his brother and agent Nicolas Higuain also confirmed that Napoli are expecting his brother’s suitors to meet his £72 million release clause.
“The president is asking for the clause to be paid to let go of Gonzalo, and we have the right to refuse to renew,” Nicolas Higuain was quoted as saying on Argentine Radio show Closs Contenintal.
Does Higuain choke on big occasions?
A fairly common accusation levelled at Higuain is that the the 28-year-old tends to go into his shell when playing in big matches. His track record with Argentina, particularly his close range one-on-one misses in matches as big as the Copa America and the World Cup finals, does his reputation no good.
However, Higuain’s record with Napoli last season tells a completely different story. In 13 league matches against the top eight Serie A clubs, Higuain has scored 10 goals and provided two assists. By comparison, Costa scored one and assisted two from eight league encounters against the top eight Premier League sides, while new Chelsea signing Michy Batshuayi scored five and assisted four from 14 appearances against the top eight Ligue 1 teams.