Gonzalo Higuain was something of the odd-man out at Juventus once the decorated Italian side made the splashy move to sign superstar Cristiano Ronaldo away from Real Madrid over the summer. Higuain would find playing time hard to come by at Juve with Ronaldo joining the fray, so the team decided that a loan move would be the best option for the star Argentina striker. So, the seven-time defending Serie A champions decided to loan Higuain to AC Milan for the season.
However, Higuain’s time in Milan was underwhelming, to say the least. When it became known that Chelsea had interest in signing the player away for the rest of the season, Higuain jumped at the chance. Earlier this week, Higuain’s move to Stamford Bridge until the end of the season was made official.
Higuain likely won’t help the Blues in any title pursuit this season, but Chelsea will be hopeful that his addition will lead to more goals. Most reputable betting sites (read these reviews on which sites are trustworthy) have Chelsea listed around 400-to-1 to win the Premier League this season. However, Chelsea are optimistic that Higuain will help them reclaim a spot in next season’s Champions League.
Some opted to take some shots at Higuain on his way out. Italy’s interior minister, Matteo Salvini, an avid AC Milan supporter, said that he was pleased to see Higuain leave. In an interview with a local radio station, Salvini said, “I’m glad that Higuain has gone and I hope we’ll never see him again in Milan because he really behaved in an unworthy manner. I don’t like mercenaries or politics in football.”
Higuain did score eight goals in 22 appearances with Milan before agreeing to a loan deal at Chelsea. His contract with the Blues includes an option to extend the loan or make him a permanent purchase at the end of the season. However, he did draw criticism from Milan sporting director Leonardo during his time with the club, as well.
In a response to the criticism, Higuain wrote in a post on Instagram, “If they speak badly of you, you should feel proud because it means that your life is more important than theirs. When you don’t have a go at others, you focus on your things and you reach certain achievements, it appears that certain people are annoyed by that and in that eagerness to achieve what one is or has, far from getting to work and make an effort to succeed, they try hard to speak badly of the rest.”
Chelsea paid Juventus €9 million for the rights to Higuain’s services for the rest of the current campaign. The Blues will have the option to extend the length of the deal over the course of next season for another €18 million, or they can make the move permanent in exchange for €36 million.
Higuain’s arrival meant the end of a disappointing tenure at Stamford Bridge for Alvaro Morata. Morata struggled to find his form with the Blues after coming over from Real Madrid in the summer of 2017. The player was outspoken earlier this season regarding his desire to return to his native Spain. Shortly after agreeing to sign Higuain, Chelsea loaned Morata away to Spanish side Atletico Madrid.
Atletico agreed to an 18-month loan for Morata, who scored just 16 goals in his 47 appearances for the Blues. Morata had previously enjoyed successful stints with Juventus and Real Madrid before making the move to England.
Higuain, 31, became a star during his time at Real Madrid from 2007 to 2013. He scored 107 in his 190 appearances for Los Blancos before moving to Italy to join Napoli for €40 million in the summer of 2013. Higuain helped Napoli win the Coppa Italia during his first campaign with the club. He would go on to score 36 goals for Napoli in Serie A during the 2015-16 season, which eequalledGino Rossetti’s 87-year-old record for most goals in an Italian league season.
Juventus decided to purchase Higuain for €90 million in the summer of 2016. At the time, he was the most expensive South American footballer of all-time. Neymar eventually broke that record with his move from Barcelona to Paris St. Germain a year later. Higuain’s move to Juve was also the most expensive transfer for an Italian team ever, until Ronaldo’s €100 million move to Juve this past summer.
Higuain helped Juve win the domestic double in his first season at the club, and he led the side to the Champions League Final in 2017, where they were beaten by Madrid.