[dropcap]N[/dropcap]apoli striker Gonzalo Higuain has hinted that he may be ready to join Barcelona in the summer. According to several reports, Barcelona have already agreed a contract with Higuain. They are set to hold negotiations with Napoli over the next few weeks. Higuain came to Napoli only last summer from Real Madrid for just over £ 35 million. He has been one of the finest strikers in the Italian Serie A this campaign after banging in more than 20 goals.
However, Napoli’s inability to challenge for top honours last campaign is thought to have put Higuain in doubt about his future at the club. This coupled with the interest from Barcelona seems to have swayed his mind, as the striker said after Argentina’s 2-1 win over Bosnia that he may be ready to join the Spanish outfit in the upcoming transfer window. He said:
“Yes, of course [I would like to play alongside Messi at Barcelona]. Obviously it would be an enormous pleasure. I am pleased by the Barca interest — any player would be.
“But I am focused now on the World Cup. There will be another time to talk about my future. I am here now, focused on this dream, trying for us all to be able to achieve our objectives.”
Higuain was a major reason in Argentina getting the win from their first group match at the World Cup 2014. He provided the assist from Lionel Messi, who is thought to have a major say in the club’s transfer policy with regard to signing strikers. Barcelona were heavily linked with Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero, who is a great friend of Messi. After having been rebuffed in their attempts to sign the former Atletico Madrid man, the Catalans appear to have turned their attention towards Higuain.
His Real Madrid connections may not be enough to prevent him from moving to the Camp Nou.
Napoli vs Inter Report:
Napoli didn’t show hospitality to their ex manager Mazzari, who came to San Paolo stadium with Inter.
Napoli got into lead very early, in 9. minute. Maggio cross didn’t get cleared well by Inter defense, the ball bounced to Higuain, who didn’t hesitate even one second, and fired a volley, which found Handanovic‘s net.
Inter responded in 35. minute, and leveled the game, Cambiasso was the scorer.
But, in 39. minute Napoli again got the lead. Great team effort, we saw fantastic one-touch counter attack which finished Mertens with the precise strike, on the assist of Dzemaili.
Two minutes later, again same creators, but this time Mertens assisted Dzemaili, for 3:1 lead.
In the last seconds of the first half, Inter managed to put one goal back. Guarin again was the main creator, Nagatomo didn’t have to do much, just to “bow” before Reina and score an easy goal.
Inter came into the second half with the idea to attack and get game and least to the draw. They didn’t managed to do that, and the game was finally lost when Alvarez got second yellow card. After that they completely fell, and just waited to the end game.
In 81. minute Callejon scored the final goal in the match, for 4:2 Napoli victory.
The Champions League is back on tonight and it does not get much bigger than the Arsenal against Napoli match up at the Emirates.
Arsenal are flying high on top of the English Premiership two points clear of join second place Liverpool and Tottenham, while Rafa Benitez’s side are in first place of the Serie A after winning 2-0 away to Genoa thanks to a couple of goals from Macedonian striker Goran Pandev.
The last time the two teams met was during a friendly back in August that saw Arsenal come back from being 2-0 down to draw the match at the Emirates.
The good news for Arsenal is that Midfielder Tomas Rosicky is back in the team after having suffered a hamstring injury while on international duty with the Czech Republic in a match against Italy back on September 10th.
Despite the good news on Rosicky Arsene Wenger’s squad will be without Theo Walcott (stomach), Santi Cazorla (ankle), Yaya Sanogo (back), Lukas Podolski (hamstring), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Abou Diaby (both knee).
Napoli will be at near full strength with only Right-back Christian Maggio absent for tonight’s encounter.
All eyes will be on former Real Madrid player Gonzalo Higuain who the Gunners failed to sign in the summer balking over Madrid’s asking price that left the door open for Napoli to come in and sign the Argentinian striker.
It is not only Higuain who is the threat as Jose Callejon and Raul Albiol have also been effective in scoring goals in particular Jose Callejon who has linked up with Slovakian international Marek Hamsik to score three goals for I Ciucciarelli so far this season.
Wenger knows the threat of Higuain and the quality of Napoli on the counter attack, and when asked about if he was worried that his missed signing would come back and haunt him said:
“It is not the best moment to talk about transfers he was on the market, as you know, and several clubs were in for him”.
“I do not think it needs to be talked about again.”
He added: “We have to be organised against Napoli because they are very good on the counter-attack.
Napoli will be coming to London looking to go home with at least a share of the points, and if Arsenal think thanks to their recent form that it should be an easy home win the Italians could provide a wakeup call to Arsenal.
This match has big ratings in prediction sites and other sports betting communities. I suggest you visit some and compare sports betting odds. This match has draw written all over it for me so I will predict a 2-2 finish which will suit the Italians just fine.
Chelsea’s new manager Jose Mourinho upset that he was unable to land Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani from Napoli following Laurent Blanc’s arrival at the Parc des Princes.
Blanc an admirer of Cavani was unlike Chelsea willing to pay the 26-year-olds buyout clause, deciding that the strong striker would be a perfect fit for the Qatari owned French champions Paris Saint-Germain where he will play alongside Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the Parisian attack.
The other striker Mourinho wanted was Borussia Dortmund’s Polish international Robert Lewandowski, but the Pole has committed himself to one more year at the Westphalia side, and will then move to play for European Champions Bayern Munich.
Mourinho has always favored a strong front man capable of leading the attack on his own as was the case with Didier Drogba, and has now turned to Aston Villa’s front man Christian Benteke who almost singlehandedly kept Villa from being relegated last season thanks to his 19 goals.
At only 22-year-old the Belgium international would certainly be interested in joining a club that will by competing not only for the Premiership title, but the Champions League also, with the bonus that he could play along with his Belgium teammate Romelu Lukaku.
Aston Villa have said that Benteke is not for sale yet should Chelsea make a reasonably sized offer I can see the striker moving to Stamford Bridge, as Chelsea’s current two strikers Fernando Torres and Demba Ba are not in the Portuguese managers future plans.
New Napoli boss and former Chelsea interim manager Rafa Benitez take a hidden swipe at Jose Mourinho and his must win no matter what approach to the game.
During the “Special Ones” first stint in charge at the bridge Mourinho, and Benitez when in charge of Liverpool never saw eye-to-eye with Benítez suggesting that Mourinho’s lack of humility was to blame when discussing his coaching style compared to the Portuguese managers.
Despite a troubled six months at Chelsea with the fans against him the Spaniard still managed to finish third in the league, and to win the Europa League for Chelsea.
Benitez when speaking to the Spanish sports daily AS said: “I don’t know what Mourinho does. I know what I do: I always want to win, without crossing the line of sportsmanship. It’s true that I get on better with some coaches than others and I align myself with those that don’t value winning at any cost.”
Benitez who moved up through the ranks of Real Madrid both playing for and later coaching their reserve team said that it was his time there that helped him to learn the value of sportsmanship.
“I joined Madrid’s academy when I was 13 and learned everything there. I received a sporting education from Madrid and I was taught to show respect and dignity towards the opponents whether we won or lost.”
Now having a fresh start ahead of him at Napoli Benitez thinks that Carlo Ancelotti is the perfect man to try and heal the rift that Mourinho left in his wake saying when talking about the Italian: “I know him well from Milan because of the finals in Athens and Istanbul and we had a very good relationship when we were both in the Premier League. I think it’s the correct choice because he will be a conciliator in the dressing room and inside the club. I think the club will appreciate that change.”
To a Chelsea fan Mourinho has always been the manager that they wanted to have at Stamford Bridge yet it remains to be seen how long the “Special One” can go before the love affair between himself and Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich will last.
The bookies are giving odds of 7/2 that Mourinho will leave Chelsea before the end of the season, what do you think?
Jose Mourinho has wasted no time in getting to work since arriving back in Stanford Bridge with all the talk on the sports channels this morning saying that a deal for Napoli’s Edinson Cavani is imminent.
Chelsea last night put in a bid of £38.9 million for Zenit St. Petersburg’s Brazilian striker Hulk, but it is thought that the Russians will try to get back more of the money they paid to Porto for their star player. When asked about a move to Chelsea during a press conference yesterday Hulk said: ‘If I said there wasn’t anything in it, I would be lying. But that is not for now. At the moment, I am 100 per cent focused on the Selecao (Portuguese for the Brazil team). Other matters will have to wait until afterwards.’
While talks between Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis and Chelsea are taking place the Napoli boss knows that Real Madrid and Manchester City are also interested in their £50-million rated Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani.
If Chelsea want to get a deal done they need to pay the full asking price for the 26-year-old, and will know that Manchester City have an ace up their sleeve in Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko that they could offer the Italians plus cash for Cavani.
De Laurentiis would love to keep his star player at the team but knows it is unlikely to happen, when the big spending teams are showing so much interest in his biggest player.
“The budget for the transfer market will be based in relation to the Financial Fair Play rules,” De Laurentiis told Radio Marte.
“If Cavani is sold then I’ll reinvest all of the €63million (£53.5m) of his release clause.
“There is interest from Chelsea in Cavani, they’ll call me in the next few hours.
“I’ll be delighted if he stays, but if he leaves then he will be adequately replaced.”
Our take on this one is that a deal could be in place before the end of the day if Chelsea and their Russian owner Roman Abramovich have both decided that they want Cavani and Hulk for what would be an attacking partnership to scare any side in the Premiership.