Gonzalo Higuaín has revealed just how close he was to signing for Arsenal nine years ago from Real Madrid, and mentioned his surprise at how the Gunners then went on to sign Los Blancos teammate Mesut Ozil for a massive fee just days after turning him down.
After impressing early on in his Madrid career, he soon found himself beneath Karim Benzema in the pecking order and felt he needed a new challenge.
Although he eventually left Madrid for Napoli and became a massive success in Serie A, the Argentine lifted the lid on his ordeal with Arsenal, as well as discussing other facets of his career in a recent interview.
“Before I went to Napoli there was [a chance to sign for Arsenal]. We had already spoken but they didn’t buy me, they buy Ozil for 80 million or something like that,” he told TyC Sports.
“They told me: ‘We don’t have a lot of money to spend. You’re expensive’. From there I went to Napoli. Two days later I see Ozil [signs] for 80 million euros,” he laughed.
Higuain went on to provide some insight about his time at Real Madrid.
“They’re the biggest club in history. They have 14 Champions League titles. I think it’s the summit for a player,” he said.
“To arrive at 19 [years old] and play [there] until I was 26… I was able to touch the sky with my hands and well, I don’t think there is more than Madrid.
“In my first year I scored 27 goals and Cris [Cristiano Ronaldo] 26. I go on holiday and I see that they sign [Karim] Benzema and Kaka.
“I call the club and say: ‘I score 27 goals and you bring me Benzema and Kaka. Listen to me, I have to come back. What do I have to do?’.
“But that’s what Madrid is all about. They bring in players constantly and you have to be competing. That’s what makes them the best team in history. You always have to compete with the best.”
Despite his competition for the No.9 spot with Benzema, Higuain revealed they had a good relationship.
“I’ve known Karim since I was 19. We didn’t just get on well, we were competing for the same position, but we always had a good relationship,” he said.
“It doesn’t surprise me that today he is the best player in the world.”