Gonzalo Higuain has today joined Chelsea on loan for the remainder of the season.
The 31-year-old striker moves to Stamford Bridge from Italian side Juventus. He spent the first half of the campaign on loan at AC Milan where he scored eight goals.
A proven goalscorer throughout his career, and an Argentina international, Higuain arrives with a wealth of experience at the highest level having consistently shown his attacking quality during spells in Argentina, Spain and Italy.
Clinical in and around the penalty area, as well as providing a strong aerial threat, Higuain previously played under Maurizio Sarri at Napoli in 2015/16, when he finished as top scorer in Serie A with 36 goals, breaking a long-standing Serie A record.
Upon completing his loan move to Chelsea, Higuain, who will wear the number nine shirt, said: ‘When the opportunity to join Chelsea presented itself I had to take it. It’s a team I’ve always liked that has a lot of history, a wonderful stadium and they play in the Premier League, a league I’ve always wanted to play in.
‘I now hope I can give back that trust Chelsea have shown me out on the pitch. I can’t wait to start and I hope to adapt as soon as possible.’
Director Marina Granovskaia added: ‘Gonzalo was our number one target in this transfer window and arrives with a proven record at the highest level. He has previously worked with Maurizio to great effect and is familiar with how the coach likes to play.
‘This was not an easy deal for us to do because of the numerous parties involved, but we are delighted we were able to make it happen and we look forward to seeing the impact Gonzalo will make for us in the second half of the season.’
Named in the Serie A Team of the Year on three separate occasions, Higuain backs his personal achievements up with collective honours. A title winner with Real Madrid and Juventus, he has also won domestic cup competitions with both teams, as well as being part of the Napoli side which won the Italian Cup in 2013/14.
On the international stage, meanwhile, Higuain has represented Argentina at three World Cups and started the final against Germany in 2014.
Football runs in the Higuain family’s blood, with Gonzalo’s father, Jorge, a former defender who played for both Boca Juniors and River Plate.
It was at River Plate where the younger Higuain started his career and after being developed in their youth set-up, he made his debut for the club in a game against Gimnasia y Esgrima in May 2005. He scored his first goal for the club the following season, and endeared himself to supporters further with a clinical brace against rivals Boca in October 2006.
His goalscoring prowess had inevitably attracted the attention of some of Europe’s biggest clubs, and in December 2006 Higuain joined Real Madrid, his maiden goal arriving in a local derby against Atletico when he fired home the equaliser in a 1-1 draw.
Having been initially used as back-up to Ruud van Nistelrooy, an injury sustained by the Dutchman provided Higuain with the opportunity to lead the line more frequently during 2008/09 and he flourished, scoring all four in a 4-3 win over Malaga.
Higuain ended the following season as Real Madrid’s top scorer with 27 goals. Only his compatriot Lionel Messi scored more in the Spanish top flight.
After helping Madrid finish as champions in his first two seasons at the Bernabeu, Higuain’s third La Liga title arrived in 2012, the striker on target in the championship-clinching 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao.
NAPOLI BOUND AND WORKING WITH SARRI
His time at Madrid came to an end in the summer of 2013 when Higuain made the switch to Italy and joined Napoli, where he would eventually go on to work with Sarri.
Goals flowed throughout his time in Naples, with the striker scoring 71 times in 94 games, a truly outstanding return.
Napoli finished third in Serie A during his first season, with Higuain’s goals a big factor in their achievement, and his brace in the semi-finals of the Italian Cup helped them progress to the final, where they overcame Fiorentina to secure the trophy.
It was during the 2015/16 season, his last at the club, when Higuain found the net an incredible 36 times in the league. Napoli, by this time under the stewardship of Sarri, took the title race to the closing weeks of the campaign, eventually finishing as runners-up behind Juventus.
Deployed as the focal point of the attack in Sarri’s system, Higuain was outstanding, using his strength and power to hold the ball up and bring his team-mates, including Jorginho, into play, while displaying a ruthless edge in front of goal. The forward has since described Sarri as the best coach he has worked under in his career.
That summer Higuain departed to join Juventus, where his goals helped the Old Lady win the domestic Double in both of his seasons at the club.
In the first of those, the Italians also reached the Champions League final, and although Higuain started the showpiece fixture against his former club Real Madrid, it was a night that ended in disappointment as the Spanish side came from behind to win 4-1.
His impressive form continued into last season with Higuain scoring regularly once again as Juventus secured another Serie A title. In the Champions League, he played a pivotal role as they eliminated Tottenham in the last 16, netting a brace in a 2-2 draw in Turin, before scoring and providing an assist for Paulo Dybala’s winner at Wembley. He ended the campaign with 23 goals in all competitions.
Having moved to the San Siro on loan ahead of the current season, Higuain enjoyed a prolific spell in front of goal during September and October when he scored six times in five consecutive appearances.
The striker played 20 times for Milan during the first half of the campaign and was on target in their most recent fixture, scoring the decisive goal in a 2-1 win over Spal.
As well as a glittering club career Higuain has been an important member of the Argentina national team for the last 10 years. The player was born in Brest, France, although he attained Argentine citizenship in 2007 through his father.
Higuain scored on his full debut in a World Cup qualifier against Peru in 2009, and was subsequently named in the squad for the 2010 finals where he finished as joint-second top scorer after netting four goals, including a hat-trick against South Korea.
Four years later, in Brazil, it was Higuain who scored the only goal of the game as Argentina knocked Belgium out in the quarter-finals, and the striker was selected to spearhead the South American side’s attack in the final as they were narrowly beaten by Germany after extra-time.
He made a third appearance at the World Cup finals last summer, featuring in all three of Argentina’s group matches before they were beaten by eventual winners France in the last 16.
As Higuain links up with the Chelsea squad there will be a few familiar faces in the shape of compatriot Willy Caballero and former team-mate Jorginho, as well as Sarri, and we now look forward to watching our latest acquisition in action for the Blues.
Welcome to Stamford Bridge, Gonzalo!