How would Gonzalo Higuain fit in at Arsenal?

Sports Mole takes a look at Arsenal's likely new recruit Gonzalo Higuain to see how he might improve their fortunes.

Arsenal spending upwards of £20m on a single player does sound like something from a fantasy book, but if the latest rumours are to be believed then Gonzalo Higuain is heading to the Emirates Stadium.

This potential move is not a knee-jerk reaction to the relative failings of the team in the 2012-13 season - after all they managed to push Tottenham Hotspur into fifth after a good run in the last couple of months. More likely it is a realisation that the club needs to invest if it is not to go backwards.

To invest, in football terms, means making money available for big-name signings when they become available. Higuain is certainly a big name, with 32 caps for Argentina under his belt and six years at Real Madrid. But is he what Arsenal need?

Argentina's Gonzalo Higuain before a game with Colombia on June 8, 2013© AP Photos

Last summer Arsenal saw Robin van Persie leave for Manchester United, with the Dutch striker citing that his exit was in order to win trophies. Arsenal then gambled on Olivier Giroud as his replacement. It was not a gamble in terms of money, indeed the Gunners paid around £9.6m for him, but a gamble that he would be good enough to provide the goals in RVP's absence.

Realistically 11 goals in 34 Premier League appearances is not the output a club such as Arsenal, who want to again challenge for honours, require. However, 107 in 187 - the Argentine's league record at Real - is. Of course, Van Persie's absence meant that the likes of Theo Walcott stepped up in terms of goals, but it is clear that more is needed up front.

At Real, Higuain has an embarrassment of creativity around him. With the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil and Xabi Alonso finding him from all angles it can be argued that Higuain's task is made easy. Certainly, his main strength is goal scoring, which is a vital addition to any team.

Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain celebrates after scoring against Real Sociedad on May 26, 2013© AP Photos

With the lone striker assisted by speedy wingers system that Arsene Wenger prefers, and a relative lack of creativity when compared to Real, it is important for the number nine to have more than just poaching skills. Higuain can finish a chance at a moment's notice, but that is not the only facet to his game.

The Argentine possesses excellent technique, as is expected from most South American forwards, and compared to Arsenal's current striker Giroud is a lot more mobile between the lines. His ability linking play and working with the players around him is shown in his statistics for last season. In 23 starts in all competitions he made seven assists, a good return for a squad player.

Higuain would perhaps not be first-choice for most big clubs who are after a forward who can score and create chances, however. But the calibre of player who can regularly change games, such as Van Persie, Edinson Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are out of the reach of all but the highest spending clubs.

Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain celebrates scoring his side's third goal in their match against Galatasaray on April 3, 2013© AP Photos

Earlier in the summer, Real made the conscious decision to choose who to keep out of Higuain and Karim Benzema. They opted for the Frenchman. Whether it is an age issue or that the Argentine is not rated as highly as Benzema is unclear, but that he has scored goals at the highest level is a big plus for Arsenal.

Before the Argentine became the most likely summer signing for the Gunners, they were linked with a move for Wayne Rooney. His wage demands meant that it was never a realistic rumour, but the players share similar qualities that Giroud arguably does not have.

When considered directly against their current options up front, few could argue that Higuain would improve the Arsenal squad. However, it will remain to be seen whether he can hit the same heights without the Galacticos around him.

Gonzalo Higuain
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