As Arsenal close in on the big money move for Argentina international striker, Gonzalo Higuain, Southampton have emerged as surprise contenders for the signature of Valencia midfielder, Ever Banega. Once again, our man, John Coates keeps us updated on these transfers….
Arsenal’s protracted pursuit of Gonzalo Higuain appears to be nearing its conclusion, as reports in Argentina claim Higuain’s father – and agent – Jorge has finally been given permission by Real Madrid to open talks with the London club.
Arsenal are thought to have been locked in discussions with the Spanish giants for weeks over a deal for the Argentina international striker and this latest development would suggest that the two clubs have now reached an agreement. The exact fee is not yet known, but it is widely believed to be a club-record fee for the Gunners.
Despite previous reports to the contrary, Higuain is yet to agree personal terms with Arsenal but he is now reportedly set to fly to England and could complete his long-awaited move over the weekend. Higuain Senior was quoted as telling Fox Sports Argentina: “There isn’t anything signed yet, but the negotiations are very advanced.”
In other news from the English Premier League involving Argentina stars past and present, Southampton have identified three high-profile players that they would like to sign this summer as part of manager Mauricio Pochettino’s rebuilding plans. The former Argentina international defender today claimed that a deal for Celtic’s midfield powerhouse, Victor Wanyama could still happen, while he also confirmed his interest in Internacional striker Leandro Damiao and Valencia midfielder Ever Banega: “We manage a lot of information about very good players,” the Saints boss said. ” One of them is Damiao, also Banega and also Wanyama.”
Eyebrows were raised when Pochettino was appointed to replace the popular Nigel Adkins at St Mary’s, but not only did he succeed in staving off the threat of relegation last season but he won plaudits for building on the attacking style of football that was initiated by his predecessor. The ambitious south-coast club have made no secret of their desire to recruit big names this summer, and Pochettino’s interest in the trio, particularly Banega, indicate that their target for the forthcoming season is somewhat higher than simply retaining their Premier League status.
It is thought that Banega caught the eye of Pochettino during his time managing Espanyol in Spain. The diminutive Rosario born playmaker, who has 17 caps for his country, almost joined fellow English side Everton in 2009, but the move fell through because of a problem with his visa. Now, after more than five years with Valencia, a move to England to play under his fellow countryman may well appeal to the former Boca Juniors star.