Manchester City ‘test the waters’ with inquiry for Napoli hitman Gonzalo Higuaín

Napoli's Argentinian-French forward Gonzalo Higuain celebrates after scoring his 36th goal in the season, breaking the Italian record of 35 scores established in 1949-50 season by Ac Milan's Swedish forward Gunnar Nordahl, during the Italian Serie A football match SSC Napoli vs Frosinone Calcio on May 14 2016 at the San Paolo stadium in Naples. / AFP / CARLO HERMANN        (Photo credit should read CARLO HERMANN/AFP/Getty Images)

Manchester City have asked Napoli about the availability of record-breaking striker Gonzalo Higuaín in recent hours, according to Italian news portal Calciomercato.

Higuaín has been at the centre of a saga involving Serie A champions Juventus, who wanted to take him from arch-rivals Napoli. That deal was gaining momentum, but comments from representatives of both clubs today suggest it isn’t going to happen. Arsenal are also known to have an interest in the 28-year-old Argentine striker, who scored an astonishing 38 goals in all competitions for the Partenopei last season.

Though currently one of world football’s best strikers, Higuaín’s release clause of €94 million (£78.5 million) is scaring suitors off, and according to the report City suggested Napoli could choose from Eliaquim Mangala, Fernando, Fernandinho and Wilfried Bony in order to bring down the fee.

The story states that Pep Guardiola has been a fan of Higuaín for a while and tried to woo him while at Bayern Munich, which has led to City’s inquiry for the striker. Guardiola is pursuing ‘international class’ talent, it is claimed, and Higuaín, who kept our very own Kun Agüero on the bench during the recent Copa América Centenario, falls under that category.

Those who remember City’s interest in Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi several years ago will recall just what a tough negotiator the infamous Aurelio De Laurentiis, president of Napoli, is, and he always demands release clauses be paid in full unless it is someone the Italian club is open to selling.

James Ducker of the Telegraph reported yesterday that City are still pursuing a striker, without giving any names. Though this story should be treated with suspicion, like so many in the transfer window, could Higuaín be one of those under consideration?

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