Even though there hasn’t been much football at all played over the last four months, that doesn’t mean that it’s been drama free for Gonzalo Higuain.
As we remember, there was the fact that he broke Italy’s lockdown mandate to return home to Argentina and subsequently had major qualms about returning to training because of health concerns both back home and with Juventus. There was then, around the same time that Higuain was hesitant when it came to returning to Italy, that rumors of a move to River Plate starting popping up, creating a stir that Higuain’s tenure with Juve didn’t have much of a future beyond the next few months.
In terms of the former, we obviously know that he has since returned to Italy and training with Juventus, marking his return by becoming the first Juve player to suffer a post-coronavirus break training injury. And when it comes to his future at the club, that’s seems to be relatively certain as well.
According to a report early Saturday in Tuttosport, Higuain’s both short- and long-term future at Juventus is pretty much set in stone. The long-term portion involves the 32-year-old Higuain being sold when the current season comes to a close later this year. The more pressing matter, however, is the fact that Higuain — when healthy, of course — is still viewed as a rather important piece to Maurizio Sarri’s attacking puzzle that has started the post-coronavirus shutdown portion of play with a couple of duds in the Coppa Italia.
Tuttosport’s report goes as far as to say that Higuain will be available to come off the bench for Juve’s first Serie A game in 3 1⁄2 months when they face Bologna on Monday night. Higuain has been out since June 4 after suffering a muscle injury in training, essentially being on a day-to-day kind of evaluation status for the last two weeks.
But, with how Juventus’ attack is constructed and how it has lacked much of anything close to a consistently serious punch, it makes sense as to why Sarri reportedly views him as a key figure for the remainder of the season. While he may not be on the kind of form that he was during the first few months of the season, Higuain provides the Juve attack a reference point up front that the other strikers can’t be.
The thing is, though, how long has the writing been on the wall that this is likely Higuain’s last season on the books with Juventus? A while now, right? It was a surprise that he remained in Turin last summer even though Juve were actively trying to move him to another club, according to reports throughout the transfer window. And the rumors of Higuain’s departure are back and will likely be popping up again and again no matter what he does over the next few weeks and months.
The fact that Higuain is still one of Juventus’ highest-paid players will make him tough to move as well as the fact that he’s 32 years old now and only has a few years left in his career. But you gotta think that Juve will be quite keen on shedding that salary sooner rather than later knowing that we’re entering the uncertain financial times of the coronavirus pandemic world.