Both AC Milan and Juventus are in Saudi Arabia, but – rather than focussing on Wednesday night’s Supercoppa Italiana between the two Serie A clubs – the headlines are very much centred around a player that has a history with each of them. Gonzalo Higuain moved to San Siro on loan in the summer after becoming surplus to requirements in Turin, for the most part due to the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Argentina international often displays a lack of mental toughness and has struggled to adjust to life in a red and black shirt, prompting multiple claims in the press that he could be due to join up with one of his former bosses at Chelsea. Under the tutelage of Maurizio Sarri at Napoli, Higuain had the best campaign of his career to date, breaking the Serie A single season scoring record with an astonishing 36 goals.
Now, reports of a move are gathering pace, with Sky Italia having reported on Tuesday that the striker will sit out of the SuperCoppa ahead of the impending transfer. Of course, the finer details will have to be ironed out, as Milan paid Juventus a £16 million fee for a season-long loan. The Rossoneri will have to be reimbursed somehow, as will his parent club, with the Premier League outfit liable to cover the bill.
But why is the striker so keen to move already? His initial transfer was lauded as a fresh challenge, and supporters of the Milan giants were hoping that this was the missing piece of the puzzle that could see them qualify for the Champions League. “I chose Milan because I liked the conviction with which they sought me out and the conviction in their project,” the Argentine confessed to La Gazzetta dello Sport back in October.
Time moves on swiftly in football, and after a quick flurry of goals in his first three months after arriving in Milan, Higuain now has just one goal to his name since the end of October. That period also saw him sent off in a match against former club Juve, his tendency to lose his cool under pressure rearing its ugly head once again.
The striker does seem to enjoy a good relationship with Gennaro Gattuso at least, the boss having joked that if it was up to him he would “invite him to my house, lock him in a room and throw him food every two to three hours” after last weekend’s Coppa Italia win over Sampdoria. Even his Coach admits he can’t put his finger on the exact problem, however it does look as though the current environment just isn’t right for him at the present time.
It was his former boss at Real Madrid, Fabio Capello, that hit the nail on the head regarding the situation. “I hope that for Milan’s sake, he can overcome his mental block and score lots of goals between now and the end of the season,” he told Radio Anch’io Sport earlier this week. Higuain’s quality isn’t up for discussion. My feeling is that Higuain wants to go and play under a Coach who knows his qualities and can enhance them.
They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and Milan don’t need a striker that is unable to score goals. Chelsea, on the other hand, could find that the signing of Higuain will become golden as he makes his emotional reunion with Maurizio Sarri.