A fee has been agreed with Real Madrid and the Argentine is set to become the focal point of the front line for Arsene Wenger’s side.
The signing of Higuain can be a significant step in the development of this Arsenal side. For years Wenger has bought from the bargain basement, trying to find talents who can be moulded into world class stars. He remains the master of that particular talent, with a host of players in the current set up developing into top class players, from Jack Wilshere and Wojciech Szczesny to Laurent Koscielny and Carl Jenkinson.
But in signing Higuain, Wenger is making a change, signing a player who is already a top class talent. This is an unusual capture for Arsenal – a ready made player who Wenger can claim no credit for making into the player he is. He could well improve him further – he usually does – but in buying a ready made forward this is a most unusual move.
Still Higuain can make a huge difference to this Arsenal side. He appears to boast the key qualities that Arsenal sometimes lack – a cutting edge, a ruthlessness in front of goal. Higuain’s conversion rate when he gets opportunities is fantastic, and he remains Spain’s top scorer of recent years if you discount the superhuman talents of Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi.
The Argentine is also extremely hard working and quick, and technical enough to be involved in Arsenal’s build up play. He gives them something they missed last year – Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud are very good players, but they are not world class. Higuain’s mobility will stretch defences and open up space for players around him to capitalise on. You can imagine him linking up perfectly with Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla. Wilshere will constantly look for Higuain’s runs, and if on form you can bet he’ll find them more often than not. And Cazorla loves operating in the space behind a striker, and there will be much more of it when Higuain arrives.
Arsenal should still sign more players. They need an experienced goalkeeper, and seem likely to bring in Julio Cesar. Another defender would be useful too – Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen are three good options at the back but a fourth would be important to give the club much needed depth in that position. And then a defensive midfielder would also be an important signing. Not the stereotypical battering ram lazy commentators talk of – but an elegant, ball playing midfielder with positional sense who sits deep – like Asier Illaramendi, the Real Sociedad player who starred for his club in La Liga last season and at the European under 21 championships last month.
But Higuain will make a very good start, as Wenger departs from his usual transfer policy – and it could well pay dividends.