• La Liga

Arsenal target Higuain determined to leave Madrid

ESPN staff
June 6, 2013
Gonzalo Higuain is set to depart Real Madrid this summer © Getty Images

Gonzalo Higuain's father says his son is determined to leave for a club which values him, after Real Madrid broke an agreement to offer the striker a new contract last summer as Arsenal and Juventus continue to be linked to the Argentine.

Higuain told reporters after scoring in Madrid's final La Liga game of the season that he now planned to leave the Bernabeu. Serie A champions Juventus were seen as his most likely destination, however more recent comments have suggested he would also quite like a move to Premier League side Arsenal.

Asked which club his son would prefer, Jorge Higuain told AS that there had already been contact with Juventus while making it clear that, even though his current deal still had three more years to run, a transfer would happen this summer given Gonzalo's unhappiness with Madrid's conduct.

"We had contact through a friend of the [Juve] president, [agent Ernesto] Bronzetti," he said. "He looks after the market. I suppose he spoke with them. The clubs must first talk with Madrid and start the negotiation. [Gonzalo] wants to go to a team who recognise him and appreciate him. We want a team who is in Europe."

Higuain senior detailed how Madrid had agreed to raise Higuain's reported €3 million-a-year salary during a series of meetings 12 months ago, but no new deal subsequently emerged.

"It was like that," he said. "With Mourinho, my son and [director] Jose Angel Sanchez. They promised they would do everything so that [Gonzalo] was happy. There was another with Mou, Jose Angel and me. And a third with me and Florentino.

"A year and this was not fulfilled. We have not said anything. Ten days I go I said it again to Jose Angel in a meeting. I do not know if he told the president. I was surprised he has got angry because this has been coming. There are no strategies, this is football and he just wants a change of environment. We never want to leave through the back door, just for things to be clear."

The Madrid president had always favoured his own signing Karim Benzema over Higuain, who was signed by previous chief Ramon Calderon, and the local media had followed this line, claimed the retired former River Plate defender.

"In seven years [Gonzalo] never felt protected as he deserved," Jorge said. "He has been attacked directly by a sector of the Spanish sporting press, he never had protection from anybody, only the goals he scored. Whatever good he did was minimised, the bad was exaggerated."

Perez has claimed this week that the forward will only leave should a club meet the release clause in his contract - thought to be €150 million or €200 million.

"I suppose that was just said in the heat of the moment," Higuain senior said. "There is no player who costs €200 million. When you return to yourself and be reasonable you know that the kid has shown what he wants. Madrid want to sell because there are concrete rumours. We must look for the best exit which does not damage the image of the club or the player."

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