x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Transfer talk: Napoli target Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain

Argentine striker on radar after Italian Serie A club sell Edinson Cavani to Paris Saint-Germain.

Gonzalo Higuain is a target for Napoli and Arsenal.
Gonzalo Higuain is a target for Napoli and Arsenal.

Gonzalo Higuain, the Real Madrid striker, is a key target for Aurelio De Laurentiis, the Napoli president, as he prepares to reinvest the funds generated by Edinson Cavani's sale to Paris Saint-Germain.

De Laurentiis, who on Tuesday night expressed his disappointment Cavani, the Uruguayan striker, had opted to leave Italy, tempered the news by revealing he has now made €124.5 million (Dh601.2m) available to Rafael Benitez, the new coach, in the current transfer window.

Cavani moved to the Parc des Princes for €64.5m and a chunk of that fee could now be paid to Real for their wantaway Argentine forward Higuain, who has also been linked with English Premier League club Arsenal.

Quoted in La Repubblica Sport, De Laurentiis admitted in a question and answer session with fans on his official Twitter account that he is pursuing Higuain, his Madrid teammate Raul Albiol and Internacional striker Leandro Damiao.

"It's true that we're negotiating for Gonzalo Higuain and Leandro Damiao," he said.

"The money we got for Cavani was €64.5m and added to the €60m we had set aside for the transfer budget there will be €124.5m to carefully invest on Napoli.

"There are various names on the table, we're assessing the situation.

"[Albiol] is undergoing medical tests and we hope he passes them."

Napoli have already signed Belgian winger Dries Mertens from PSV Eindhoven and Real striker Jose Callejon as Benitez plots another Serie A title challenge, after the Partenopei finished second to Juventus under Walter Mazzarri last season.

The Bianconeri have not been resting on their laurels, however, adding prolific duo Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente to their frontline in recent weeks.

"Is there an area of the team where we're better than Juventus?" De Laurentiis added. "It's too early to tell.

"Are we targeting the Scudetto or a Champions League semi-final? We're always aiming for the maximum and we'll be competitive both in Italy and in Europe.

"Benitez was an excellent appointment and the new boys are settling in."

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