Gather round, folks… it’s another Jose Mourinho Manchester United potential signing story! Although the rumour that the Portuguese tactician will step into Louis van Gaal’s shoes has been circulating since his Chelsea dismissal back in December, we’re still no closer than a supposed ‘pre-contract agreement’ to seeing the ‘Special One’ in the Old Trafford dugout, but the speculation surrounding players he wants in Manchester has been plentiful.
And the latest name to crop up, courtesy of Football Insider, is Gonzalo Higuain, who has a £78.5m release clause in his Napoli contract. That’s big money for a single player – it would in fact smash the club-record £59.7m fee paid for Angel di Maria in 2014 – but if there’s one thing the Argentine brings it’s goals… and plenty of them!
How would he fit at Man United?
Well, with Wayne Rooney likely to drop deeper and deeper as his career progresses and Anthony Martial being often used as a wide attacker, Higuain looks like he could be the man to spearhead a new Man United team. There’s already been talk of Mourinho building a new ‘spine’ at the Theatre of Dreams, and a 25+-goals-a-season centre-forward would be a key component in this.
Higuain has, since his move to Napoli in 2013, scored 22, 25 and 31 (so far) in each season, suggesting that he’s the goal machine the Red Devils lack – they’re the lowest scorers in the Premier League’s top seven now with 38. Granted, the 28-year-old doesn’t really offer a whole lot more than plopping the ball in the onion-bag, but that is the aim of the game, after all!
Would he fit under Mourinho?
This is a tricky one. Mourinho coached him at Real Madrid, and although the forward and coach won the La Liga title together, there have been long-standing suggestions that Higuain is not his sort of player. Indeed these allegations have bulk to them, with his Chelsea teams having been spearheaded by Didier Drogba and Diego Costa and his Inter Milan team built around Diego Milito, all of whom are physical specimens able to hold up the ball and challenge defenders. Higuain, for all his qualities, isn’t the sort of player to run the channels all game long, throw himself into one-on-one battles or be a springboard to get other players involved through knock-downs.
Is he worth the cash?
As the leading goalscorer in any of Europe’s top five leagues (Serie A, Premier League, La Liga, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga) with 29, his stock has, arguably, never been higher. Napoli are adamant that his £78.5m release clause is the fee needed, so it’ll take, if not that, pretty close to it. Transfermarkt, however, value him at £41.3m, suggesting that the Naples giants’ price-tag is over the odds. But, with genuine top quality strikers at a premium and transfer fees growing exponentially, anywhere around £60m-£70m seems realistic.
Will is happen?
It’s hard to tell. Higuain would bring the goals, but his style doesn’t fit completely with a typical ‘Mourinho team’. However, we don’t even know if Man United will be a ‘Mourinho team’ next season! This one should be looked at with scepticism for now.