Hello Higuain, bye bye Pogba?

After leading the Serie A scoring chart in Napoli blue last season, Gonzalo Higuain will attempt to repeat his scoring feats in the black-and-white of title holders Juventus. The Argentinian's move is the most expensive football transfer ever involvi
After leading the Serie A scoring chart in Napoli blue last season, Gonzalo Higuain will attempt to repeat his scoring feats in the black-and-white of title holders Juventus. The Argentinian's move is the most expensive football transfer ever involving Italian clubs.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Argentinian's arrival in Turin may allow Juve bosses to consider Frenchman's departure

MILAN • When one door closes, another opens. But for Italian football club Juventus, the reverse may be true - enter Gonzalo Higuain, exit... Paul Pogba?

Argentinian striker Higuain completed a sensational move to Juventus on Tuesday after the Serie A champions agreed to pay a €90 million (S$134 million) fee, the third highest in history, to wrest him from Napoli.

And the British media have reported that with Juventus splashing the cash, midfielder Pogba's long-drawn move to Manchester United can finally gather pace.

This was, however, not the case yesterday when according to Spanish newspaper AS, Pogba's agent Mino Raiola cancelled the player's medical check-up prior to his transfer.

Raiola is apparently still unsettled over who should pay his £25 million (S$44 million) agent fee. With United being the more likely, the influential agent is putting the Pogba deal on hold until it is sorted out.

Juventus have also said that they will not accept anything less than €120 million for the Frenchman.

  • MOST EXPENSIVE TRANSFERS

    GARETH BALE 
    Tottenham to Real Madrid, 2013
    $152m

    CRISTIANO RONALDO 
    Man United to Real Madrid, 2009
    $149m

    GONZALO HIGUAIN 
    Napoli to Juventus, 2016 
    $134m 

    LUIS SUAREZ 
    Liverpool to Barcelona, 2014 
    $133m 

    NEYMAR 
    Santos to Barcelona, 2013 
    $127m

    All figures in S$

Zinedine Zidane, the Real Madrid coach, hinted yesterday that the European champions could yet launch a bid for Pogba.

"I don't know if he will come. Until Aug 31 anything can happen. Everyone is interested in Pogba. He is a great footballer and when you are Madrid you always want the best," Zidane said.

And while Juventus fans are largely rejoicing after the capture of a huge signing, Higuain's move to Turin was met with mixed reactions elsewhere.

On 36 occasions last season, he boosted Napoli's dream of ending their 26-year title drought before eventually falling prey to Juventus.

But on Tuesday he went from hero to zero by joining Napoli's rivals in a move that has underlined his quest for success, yet prompted swift criticism.

For one-club man Francesco Totti, who is set to play his final season with Roma, it is a disaster that smacks more of "business than passion".

"People want to see a player that's always with the same team. Maybe they hope for a player that won't betray them," he told Gazzetta World.

"Look at what's happened now with Gonzalo Higuain leaving Napoli for Juventus. It's a disaster."

Salvatore Esposito - who plays gangster Genny Savastano in the hit Italian TV series Gomorra - said Higuain has become "poorer" for trading in the unconditional love of Napoli's fans for a richer existence in chilly Turin.

"The way Gonzalo left was... pathetic, if you ask me. But in the end, it's business."

The Argentinian will be officially unveiled by Juventus today, after his medical check-up and signing his five-year deal yesterday.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 28, 2016, with the headline 'Hello Higuain, bye bye Pogba?'. Print Edition | Subscribe