The mood around Stamford Bridge is decidedly blue following Chelsea’s 2-0 loss to Arsenal.
It doesn’t help that Chelsea’s best defender would rather be operating at no.10, their best attacker is a Real Madrid player in waiting and the strikers are allergic to shooting.
Gonzalo Higuain won’t be able to help Maurizio Sarri solve the first two issues, but finding the back of the net has never been a problem for the Argentine, excluding major finals.
Few strikers in world football have a CV to match Higuain’s pedigree. The 31-year-old’s cosmopolitan résumé of Buenos Aires, Madrid, Naples, Milan and now London wouldn’t look out of place as a Formulae One schedule.
If Higuain was a car he wouldn’t be one you put at the front of the showroom. There would certainly be faster and more efficient runners, but few quite as reliable.
Whether as the next great Argentinian striking hope at River Plate, a galactico at Real Madrid, record-breaking cult figure at Napoli or elite assassin at Juventus, Higuain has never failed to match goalscoring expectations.
It’s only at AC Milan, where he wont be the last high-profile striker not to see eye-to-eye with Gennaro Gattuso, that the goals have dried up. That being said, 6 in 15 league appearances is far from disastrous.
The fact that Higuain has bottled the big occasions, notably the 2014 World Cup and 2015 Copa America finals, won’t particularly worry Chelsea.
With no Champions League football or title hopes to speak of, Chelsea’s big occasion is now ensuring that Sarri’s side finish the season in the top four.
Chelsea have pulled off a masterstroke in signing a striker who, three seasons ago, scored 36 league goals in 35 games playing Sarriball.
During the current climate, to get a 31-year-old Argentina international on a fairly risk-free loan until the end of the season takes some doing.
Chelsea have been burnt when signing strikers from Serie A in years gone by, but this is a completely different situation to the one that saw Andriy Shevchenko rock up at Stamford Bridge for a British record transfer fee.
Higuain is already familiar with the style of play expected from Sarri, something Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud have struggled to get to grips with.
Jorginho is the pass master setting the tempo, as he was during Higuain’s record-breaking 2015/16 campaign, while Dries Mertens and Jose Callejon have been upgraded to Eden Hazard and Pedro.
That familiarity will be key in ensuring Higuain hits the ground running.
If Higuain’s goals take Chelsea back into to the Champions League back next season then it will have been mission success.
Nothing he’s done in the past suggests that will be a struggle, while the prospect of getting stuck in to the defences of Huddersfield, Fulham and Brighton will have Higuain double-checking his goal bonus.
Over to you, Gonzalo.
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