Turin, July 27 (IANS) Italian football champions Juventus have announced the historic signing of Napoli’s Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain in a five-year deal for a third most costliest transfer fee of 90 million euros ($98.9 million).
“Juventus Football Club can confirm that it has purchased the registration rights of Gonzalo Higuain for 90 million euros, payable in two financial years,” the Serie A giants said in a statement on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old’s departure from Napoli has been surrounded by great expectations and controversy as Juventus are their historical rival. Moreover, Higuain scored 36 goals in 35 Serie A games — breaking Gunnar Nordahl’s 66-year-old record in the process last season.
Higuain, who joined Napoli from Real Madrid in 2013, also had two years remaining on his contract in Naples.
He last weekend underwent medical tests with Juventus in a Madrid clinic in the presence of the Turin club’s general manager Giuseppe Marotta and sporting director Fabio Paratici.
Now, Higuain becomes the biggest ever signing for an Italian club, the most expensive Juventus player of all time and the third costliest transfer in club football history.
He is currently third only to Welsh forward Gareth Bale, who joined Real Madrid for 100 million euros ($109.7 million) in the summer of 2013 and Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, who joined Real for 94 million euros ($103.1 million) from Manchester United in July 2009.
Higuain also became the most expensive transfer in Juventus history, as their previous top expenditure was the $55 million they paid Serie A rival Parma for goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon in 2001. Buffon now captains the Turin giants.
The most expensive buy in Serie A was Hernan Crespo, as Lazio spent 55 million euros ($60.3 million) to bring him in from Parma in 2000.
Italian media reported that former Real Madrid striker Higuain will get 7.5 million euros ($8.3 million) per year plus image rights. Such a deal would make him the highest paid player in Serie A, allowing him to leapfrog Roma midfield talisman Daniele De Rossi.
His signing is also a major coup for the Italian champions as they look to strengthen despite the loss of Alvaro Morata, who returned to Real Madrid, and the expected departure of Paul Pogba to Manchester United.
At the Turin club, Higuain becomes the fifth player after Miralem Pjanic, Danie Alves, Medhi Benatia, and Marko Pjaca as new additions, marking one of the busiest summers of Juventus.
In moving for Higuain, the Italian champions have secured the services of one of the most prolific and complete forwards in global football, boasting a staggering 191 league strikes to his name in 329 appearances across spells with Napoli, Real Madrid and River Plate.
With Higuain now following fellow Argentinians Carlos Tevez and Paulo Dybala in donning the black and white of Juventus, few would write off his chances of lifting his first Serie A title while helping the Old Lady to win a record sixth Scudetto on the spin.