This is one signing that will go down in Juventus’ history for how quickly and quietly it was executed, and for how Beppe Marotta and Fabio Paratici made an impossible task look so easy.
If Napoli had thought that putting a prohibitive €90 million release clause on their best player from last season was going to deny the Bianconeri, they have been mistaken. And if the Bianconeri faithful around the world had any doubts whatsoever that Juventus were not going to go all out over the next couple of seasons to win the Champions League, those fears can be laid to rest.
Juventus Football Club can today confirm that it has purchased the registration rights of Gonzalo Higuain for €90 million, payable in two financial years.
The player has agreed a five-year contract with the club.
They promptly followed it up with a social media release as well -
Higuain scored a Serie A record 36 goals in 35 League games last season had joined Napoli in 2013 from Real Madrid on a five year contract. He had 91 goals and 26 assists with the Partenopei in 146 appearances over three years, and previous to that 122 goals and 56 assists over 264 games in Madrid. The striker has 63 international caps scoring 30 goals with 14 assists for the Argentina national team.
Click here to follow the timeline of the chase and capture of Higuain’s signature, and these might be even more relevant now - three reasons why Juventus needed to sign the forward, and three reasons why they shouldn’t have bothered.
What remains to be seen now is how Higuain, who has previously played as sole striker in Naples and at the Los Blancos before that, will fit in with Juve manager Massimiliano Allegri’s 3-5-2/4-3-1-schemes where he will have to share the workload with another forward.
As for the steep price paid for ‘Il Pipita’, there are two ways of looking at it. The first is courtesy of football journalist Gab Marcotti, who wrote -
"Assuming Juventus get five productive seasons out of him, he'll cost -- between wages and transfer fee -- around $35m a season. That's roughly what Ronaldo will have cost Real Madrid, on average per year, from the time he signed in 2009 to when his current deal expires in 2018. Now, nobody in their right mind would expect Ronaldo-level output from Higuain on the pitch, and certainly not off it in terms of commercial deals.
Not to mention the fact that, if things don't work out, he'll have very little resale value."
Good points all, but at the same time, this terse one-liner from Twitter also summarizes the feelings of most fans quite succinctly.
€120 million to weaken your top two rivals while improving your own squad is just good business, period.
So, either way, Higuain is now a Juventus player and as soon as this Paul-Pogba-to-Manchester-United circus is resolved, Allegri and the boys can get down to training for the upcoming season.