The negotiation had a stop-and-go, but the protagonists came to an agreement fairly quickly considering the magnitude of the deal and all the different moving parts: on Thursday, Milan announced the signing of Gonzalo Higuain from Juventus.
For Financial Fair Play purposes, It is technically a loan and the Rossoneri will pay €18M for the first year and will have a €36M option to buy, but with an initial fee that high it is almost a lock that it will be a permanent deal.
El Pipita moved to Turin two years ago, when the Old Lady decided to invest the money they got from Manchester United for Paul Pogba to pay the €90M release clause of his contract with Napoli. He was coming off a record-breaking campaign, where he scored the most goals (36) in a season in Serie A history, surpassing the bar set by Gunnar Nordahl in 1949-1950.
The centre-forward was productive in his time with the Bianconeri, even though not as devastating as with the Partenopei: he found the target 55 times in 105 appearances, 40 of them in Serie A, contributing to two Scudetti. Last season’s 16 scores in the Italian league were a career low. Often deemed ineffective in Champions League, he netted some crucial goals in the 2017 semi-final against Monaco and in the 2018 round of 16 against Tottenham.
Rumblings about Juventus being willing to move on from Higuain to buy a different type of striker had started to surface even before the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo. After that coup, he became expendable from a technical standpoint and his sale made sense financially because he was the highest earner. His goal total was a little hurt by Massimiliano Allegri’s unwillingness to build the offence around one, any, player and by the constant rotation. However, besides some noise after his exclusion from the Coppa Italia final, he did not voice any discontent.
El Pipita now joins a crowded attack in Milan, which comprises Patrick Cutrone, Nikola Kalinic and André Silva, even though the team would likely prefer to sell at least one of the final two. Considering where the Devil was a month ago, getting the most prolific Serie A forward in the past five years at a reasonable price and with an advantageous formula has to be considered a major success.
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