Benitez happy to land Higuain

Napoli boss Rafael Benitez believes incoming striker signing Gonzalo Higuain will take the ambitious Serie A club to the next level.

Last Updated: 25/07/13 at 09:59 Post Comment

Gonzalo Higuain: On brink of move to Napoli

Gonzalo Higuain: On brink of move to Napoli

Argentinian striker Higuain, 25, is on the verge of signing a five-year contract at the Stadio San Paolo for a reported 40million euro (£34.5million) fee while Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina, 30, prepares to reunite with his former Reds manager on a season-long loan deal.

The duo passed medicals at the Villa Stuart sport clinic in Rome on Wednesday afternoon and, according to Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis, will be presented to fans at "a big party" ahead of a friendly match against Galatasaray on Monday night.

Benitez knows Reina well, having brought the Spain international to Anfield from Villarreal in 2005, but he is particularly excited to work with Higuain, who has scored 107 league goals in six seasons with Real Madrid.

Benitez told the Corriere dello Sport: "We were looking for a quality player. We were looking for someone playing at the highest level.

"We have signed a player who comes from Real Madrid and we have signed a striker who has scored a hatful of goals and who will adapt very well to our system - an attacking system. We needed a player like this.

"We are all working together to ensure the players we want arrive. We have to sign players who will do well for Napoli for the next three or four years."

Benitez, who succeeded Walter Mazzarri at the San Paolo in June, has already signed winger Dries Mertens from PSV Eindhoven and both forward Jose Callejon and defender Raul Albiol from Real Madrid.

Last year's Serie A runners-up are rebuilding for both a title challenge and a Champions League campaign, and the recent flurry of transfer activity has been sparked by the arrival of the 64million euros (£55million) earned from striker Edinson Cavani's transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.

"Players who come from clubs like Real, PSV and Liverpool can only do us good," Benitez said.

"We have a great squad already, Mazzarri did great work, but we can move forward. For Napoli these signings represent a quantum leap."

Should the moves go through, Higuain and Reina could appear for Napoli against Arsenal in next month's Emirates Cup.

The pre-season event is being hosted by the Gunners, who had been strongly linked with a move for the Argentinian this summer, on the weekend of August 3-4.

Higuain declared his intention to leave the Santiago Bernabeu towards the end of the 2012-13 season, while Reina's chances of first-team football at Anfield appeared increasingly limited following the arrival of Simon Mignolet from Sunderland.

On Wednesday night Reina took to his official Twitter account to say goodbye to Reds fans.

He wrote: "Thank you all for your messages... in the next few days I will be able to bid you a proper farewell."

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S

terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
Townsend: I've silenced critics

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