Arsenal are chasing the signature of Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain – there have been reports that he had been spotted at an airport in Madrid and there has been confirmation from his father that he has been given permission to talk with Arsenal regarding personal terms.
Meanwhile, Arsenal are officially ‘launching’ their new away kit for the coming 2013/14 season which, incidentally, has already been leaked and picked up in the majority of mainstream press.
However, the sudden quiet and lull on the Higuain front could have indicated a deal was close. Ordinarily, if a player has been granted permission to discuss personal terms with another club, as Higuain’s father claims is the case, it’s only after his current club has agreed a fee for the transfer with the interested club. That is, ordinarily, how deals proceed.
Then, as personal terms are in the process of being wrapped up between the player and the prospective club, the player undergoes a medical and then is officially unveiled as a new signing – in the club’s kit on their official website and or television channel.
Arsenal are definitely going to officially unveil their new away kit for next season on Tuesday 9th July and, given that their home strip will remain the same as last season's pretty much, this will effectively be the only major merchandise change to promote.
What could possibly inspire fans across the globe to invest in a new shirt or kit more than to have a marquee signing, a record-breaking fee transfer from one of the best clubs in the world wearing that new kit with his name and new squad number on the back to boot. Now that would be smart public relations, wouldn’t it?
There were reports in the Spanish press on Friday that Arsenal had either hit a stumbling block over the fee and even reports that they hadn’t even make an official bid to Real Madrid for Higuain. But that doesn’t add up if he’s been allowed to talk to Arsenal – why would his club allow his to open talks over personal terms if they hadn’t received a bid from Arsenal or even if they hadn’t agreed a fee? That doesn’t make sense.
There were also pictures of the Argentine at Barajas airport in Madrid on Thursday although it was later explained he was arrivng from Miami, rather than departing for London.
If Arsenal really wanted to draw maximum publicity to the new kit and get people buying it, unveiling a quality striker like Gonzalo Higuain as their new signing would be the best way.
The latest reports from Spain, that the striker is still in Madrid and the clubs no closer to doing a deal make this sadly unlikely to happen.
Madrid president Florentino Perez said this afternoon: "We don't want Higuain to leave, what's more, no-one from Arsenal has come to us and made us any offers at all for him. There are no offers on the table."
Arsenal is a football club it’s also a business and a brand – this would have been the best way of improving that brand’s public imagine given the recent turbulence over player sales and the clubs’s transfer policy. This would, in all likelihood, be just the kind of stunt that could wipe that negative image of being a ‘selling club’ clean.