Welcome to Chelsea Football Club, Gonzalo “Pipita” Higuan.

Higuan (finally) arrives in West London on an initial 6 month loan + buy option, plus the guarantee of another year’s loan (2019/2020) in the event that certain conditions (goals, appearances, etc.) are verified. Higuan had recently spent time at AC Milan on loan from Juventus, meaning not two, but three clubs were involved in this particular saga.

Why the delay you say? AC Milan’s long-drawn out signing of Genoa’s Krzysztof Piatek, (affectively to replace Higuan), alongside Alvaro Morata’s pending move to Spanish giants Atletico Madrid, had not only three players patiently waiting in airports to travel to their new destinations, but also three impatient fanbases anxiously awaiting their new center forward. Eventually, AC Milan pushed that first domino, and now here we are… We are now into the third week of the January transfer window, and Maurizio Sarri has his man.

Video Credit – @CFCDaily

Gonzalo Gerardo Higuan, was born on 10 December 1987 in Brest, France. Gonzalo sub sequentially attained Argentine citizenship in 2007, and since 2009, has represented the Argentinian national team, racking up 31 goals in 75 games so far. Higuan began his club career with Argentine powerhouse River Plate in 2005, before signing for Real Madrid in January 2007 for €12 million. In Madrid, Higuan made his name with 107 goals across 7 seasons in the Spanish capital. In 2013, Napoli would sign the forward for €40 million. Our very own Maurizio Sarri would also arrive in Naples in June 2015, and the pair’s love-story blossomed from there. In Higuan’s third session at Napoli, and Sarri’s first, Higuan would go onto win the Capocannoniere (given to the highest goalscorer in Serie A) with 36 goals, equalling the record of Gino Rossetti from the 1928-29 season. Higuan was evidently sold to Juventus that summer, for a monstrous fee of €90 million.

Maurizio Sarri has since remained a fan of Higuan:

“I miss Higuain a great deal. I miss him because he’ll keep scoring goals until the day he dies.”

“He is a goal machine, a systematic and automatic jackpot.”

It’s no secret that the feeling is mutual here. In October 2018, Higuan admitted:

“He’s the best manager I had in my career. I showed all my potential with him.”

sarrihigPhoto Credit – The Evening Standard

January transfers are never easy. However, I believe this particular transfer makes considerable sense. Why? Maurizio Sarri and Higuan have previously worked with each other, to devastating effect. This means Higuan understands Sarri’s philosophy, and will represent a significant figure in “Sarri-ball,” being the man to evidently finish the chances created by the sharp, slick ball movement from the Italian’s side. Chelsea’s main objective this season is to solidify a top 4 spot in the league. Whilst they are on course to achieve this at the time of writing (just), the following statistics highlight the inadequacy of Chelsea’s current attacking outlook:

  • Chelsea rank first for hitting the woodwork with 16.
  • Chelsea currently rank third in the league for “big chances missed” with 38.
  • Out of the “top 6”, Chelsea rank last for goals scored with 40.

Any optimistic Chelsea fan would assume a man of Higuan’s caliber would be able to convert at least some of these figures into a more desirable statistic; goals.

Personally, I believe Higuan portrays an important, yet exciting signing for Chelsea. It is evident, more than ever in recent weeks, that Chelsea are desperate for an “out and out” goalscorer, especially with the recent struggles of current forwards Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud. Unfortunately, Sarri’s experiment with Eden Hazard in the false 9 role doesn’t resemble a long term fix. I have attended four of Chelsea’s recent fixtures (excluding the FA Cup game against Nottingham Forest), and in that time they have totaled just two goals, both coming recently against Newcastle United from the wingers in Pedro and Willian. The lack of penetration for all of Chelsea’s possession is particularly dis-heartening. I am confident Higuan will arrive and bring that cutting edge back to Stamford Bridge.

dxn4vbmxgaaxjmgPhoto Credit – The Chelsea Echo

Gonzalo Higuan comes from AC Milan with 6 goals in 16 appearances. He has 6 months to lead Chelsea to a top 4 finish in the 2018/19 season, and 18 months to impress the Chelsea hierarchy in order to secure a full-time deal. The Chelsea faithful can be impatient at times, especially with their center-forward. Nevertheless, if the player comes in and get the goals the club so desperately needs, even in such a short amount of time, it’s no secret that they will never be forgotten in SW6, ask Diego Costa.

Welcome to The Premier League, “El Pipita.”