Higuain vs. Giroud: How Olivier Ranks Up Against Europe’s Deadliest Striker

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The transfer market is in full flow and the usual transfer rumours are flying about including the inevitable ‘Julian Draxler to Arsenal’, but one that really has caught the eye of the Gunners faithful is the prospect of signing Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli.

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Arsenal came very close to securing the Argentinean’s signature in 2013 before opting to target Luis Suarez, to then end up with nobody, Higuain went on to sign for Napoli where he has found astonishing form scoring 71 goals in 94 appearances.

No offer has been made by the Gunners and the reported fee asking price is £80million.

The Naples hit-man found fine form last season scoring 36 goals in Serie A finishing the as the league’s top goalscorer. The former Real Madrid man would cost Arsenal a club record fee that would certainly exceed the £42.5million the Gunners paid for Mesut Ozil in 2013.

The potential signing of Higuain has led to speculation in Italy regarding the future of current Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud, suggesting he could be used as part of player plus cash deal.

Giroud’s agent didn’t deny the speculation as expected and even suggested Giroud would enjoy playing for the Italian club. Mickael Manuello said: “There is no fear in Olivier going to Napoli, it is a magnificent city.

“In Campania, my client would lead a wonderful life, not to mention that the type of game orchestrated by Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri could enhance the quality of a centre-forward like him.”

He added: “At the moment, Giroud is an Arsenal player. If he was asked to leave, then we would evaluate our options.”

However desperate Arsenal are for a new striker, swapping their only fit natural striker for another does not make sense, they need to add numbers in that position, to add competition but selling one and buying one does not fix the issues that the Gunners have.

Arsenal and their faithful have been crying out for an Henry-esque striker for many years, a player that could take on three players, nutmeg the fourth and embarrass the goalkeeper in the process, the days when Dennis Bergkamp would make defenders look silly after elegantly bringing the ball into his stride before clinically finishing anything that comes his way. They need to bring back that fear to the club, a fear that clubs are worried about playing the Arsenal, but they have become anything but that. A striker like Higuain would certainly bring that label with him, and we take a look at exactly why.

Higuain brings many things to his game, one thing that stands out about the striker is his finishing, his deadly eye for goal and coolness in key areas has seen him become one of Europe’s most clinical finishers for many years.

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Standing at  6ft, he is able to look after himself and is prepared for the physical side of the game, and will defend from the front which is perfect for a modern day number 9.

There is no doubt Higuain is a natural striker, but his technical ability to also build up play and put through killer passes makes him versatile to the playing style on the day. He can score all types of goals, headers, tap-ins and even extraordinary acrobatic attempts.

A deadly offensive threat on the counter attack, using his pace in the final third to create himself a goal-scoring chance is another sublime trait of the Argentine’s game, his playing style has seen him likened to Hernan Crespo.

The 28-year-old has been phenomenal consistently for many years, this is shown by scoring 71 goals in 190 appearances for Real Madrid and carrying on his form for Napoli and also Argentina.

Higuain has come under strong scrutiny in major tournaments for Argentina, he was branded a “big game bottler” after missing sitters in the 2014 World Cup final against Germany, and the Copa America 2016 final against Chile. I view this as very disrespectful, one of the deadliest strikers in Europe has done enough to be known as a great, not a big game bottler.

His style of play is very much suited to the Premier League, he likes to dribble, execute long balls and likes to tackle, he has all the attributes to be a massive success in England, we take a look at how he compares with Giroud.

Giroud has come under strong criticism for many years, this is mainly due to inconsistent performances and being deemed to go missing during parts of the season, however, I do feel he is under appreciated by Arsenal fans and even other fanbases, he cost the Gunners just £12million and has gone on to score 57 goals in 135 league appearances.

The prolific goal scoring machine Higuain has just come off one of his best personal seasons in his career whilst Giroud has come off the back of a good personal season too, finishing as Arsenal’s top goalscorer. Despite a decent campaign, Giroud is thoroughly outshone by Higuain who scored 1.09 goals per 90 minutes last season, this shows why he is thought of as one of Europe’s best. Giroud managed just 0.59 goals after going through a very bad dry spell which saw him not find the net for several weeks.

Both are playing predominantly as strikers, but both show they have much more attributes to their game than just scoring goals, Higuain created 1.55 chances per 90 with Giroud once again trailing on 1.33.

One thing Giroud is superb at is his hold up play and ability to bring others into play, which is why he thrives playing for France alongside Antoine Griezmann. This is proven in his 0.22 assists per 90 last season, which is far superior to Higuain (0.06).

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Killer balls, another aspect to Higuain’s game, shows once again why he’d be a sublime addition to the Gunners squad, managing 1.49 key passes with Giroud behind, but with a still impressive score of 1.11.

Juventus seem to have entered the race to sign Higuain and the player himself rejected £800,000 a week to play in China. With the influx of money coming into Arsenal from the TV rights and league position they will not be priced out of any deal and can offer him massive wages, which he would definitely demand. The born goalscorer is the perfect striker the club need, the player to take them to the next level, he will not only bring them success in the league but also in Europe.

Down to you Arsène.