Gonzalo Higuaín is on the verge of signing for Arsenal for £23m. The Argentinian striker is hoping to fly to London on Thursday evening to complete the move after Real Madrid gave him permission to formally reach agreement with the London club.
Higuaín, who has been talking to Arsenal for some time, had also received an offer from Juventus. But the Italians' bid failed to convince Madrid and they instead signed Carlos Tevez.
Higuaín's father and agent, the former footballer Jorge Higuaín, told Fox Sports Latin America that a final resolution was close. "We managed to get permission from Real Madrid to negotiate face to face with Arsenal," he said. "Fortunately, I will soon be able to watch my son play in the Premier League."
Higuaín is expected to sign a deal on £100,000 a week, putting him among the club's top earners, and Arsenal remain keen to pair him up front with Wayne Rooney should Manchester United be willing to let him go.
The 25-year-old was on the verge of leaving Real Madrid last summer but was persuaded to stay by a combination of José Mourinho, team-mates and fans. But, signed by the former president Ramón Calderón, he has long felt unsupported at institutional level, despite scoring 107 league goals in 190 games over the last six and a half seasons since arriving as a 19-year-old. Higuaín's competitor for the striker's position, Karim Benzema, was a personal signing of the president Florentino Pérez.
Last season Mourinho used both Higuaín and Karim Benzema in the central striking position but rarely seemed entirely convinced by either man and Higuaín tended to start the biggest games on the bench. He scored 16 in 28 league games but just one in nine Champions League matches.
Higuaín publicly announced his departure, following the final game of the season against Osasuna. "It has been seven years at Real Madrid and I need a change," he said. "This is a decision that I have taken calmly, it is not a snap decision. No one has gifted me anything: I have always had to fight. I came here for €12m and they will sell me for a lot more. I want to go where they show they really want me."
He also said that day: "I know that Juventus want me." But it is Arsenal who will finally get him.