Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain has turned down an astonishing £800,000-a-week deal to play in the Chinese Super League, as Arsenal remain in the hunt for his signature.
Gonzalo Higuain is expected to leave the Italians after a record-breaking season which saw him eclipse the record for most goals scored in a single Serie A campaign, with 36 in 35 games.
The Gunners have long-been linked with a move for the Argentine prior to his 2013 move to Napoli, with Arsene Wenger tracking the former Real Madrid man after he fell out of favour at the Bernebeu.
But Chinese club Hebei China Fortune have already made their move for the 28-year-old with Sky Sports reporting Higuain turned down a move to the Far East, which would have earned him an astronomical £800,000-a-week, which equates to almost £42m per year.
And the broadcaster reports that Arsenal are interested in bringing Gonzalo Higuain to England this summer, but would have to pay a club-record fee surpassing the £42.5m spent to bring Mesut Ozil to the Emirates in 2013.
Sources in Italy believe “intermediaries” have been in contact with Higuain’s brother who acts as his agent about a possible move to the Premier League, potentially putting the future of Olivier Giroud in doubt.
Arsenal could be willing to offer a player-plus-cash deal with Giroud heading the other way and the Frenchman’s agent Mickael Manuello has stoked the flames by admitting he would be extremely interested in linking up at the Stadio San Paolo.
“There is no fear in Olivier going to Napoli, it is a magnificent city,” he told French radio station Radio CRC.
“In Campania, my client would lead a wonderful life, not to mention that the type of game orchestrated by Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri could enhance the quality of a centre-forward like him.
“At the moment, Giroud is an Arsenal player. If he was asked to leave, then we would evaluate our options.”
The 29-year-old has never been fully warmed to by The Gunners faithful, with last season’s barren run of 15 Premier League matches without a goal causing considerable irk, despite his reasonable record.
Giroud has hit 82 goals in 188 appearances for the club, but Higuain has a far superior strike rate, with 91 goals in just 146 games for Napoli, including 71 goals in 94 league games.