When will Higuain sign?
The rumors flying around include Higuain boarding a plane for London. Those of you who have voted for a July 5th signing in the poll (37% as of this morning) could be crowing much louder should this happen. It’s odd to call this a long, drawn-out transfer, but that’s what it feels like, even if I only can find evidence dating back to March 2013 but no earlier. Should the signing happen before the weekend, it would be only five days into the official transfer window and one of the earliest signings we’ve seen in the last few years except that of Podolski, whose signing was announced at the team site on 30 April 2012, and Giroud, whose signing was on 26 June 2012. Most of our other signings have happened (or been announced) very late in the transfer window, something detailed here if you’re curious.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s remember that nothing is official yet. There. That’s said. With it out of the way, let’s pretend for a bit and ponder what it means once it becomes official:
- Statement of intent: signing Higuain is an unquestionable statement of intent. We’re bringing in La Liga’s 3rd-most prolific scorer over the last seven years, a player for the world’s largest club. He’s not Messi or Ronaldo, to be sure, but signing him is a strong statement about our ambitions. Without making too much of it, it’s the kind of signing that can draw the attention of other players, encouraging them to take a closer look at following his lead.
- New approach: in the past, not only have most signings involved relatively unknown players, they’ve usually happened largely below the radar and late in the window. Rumors and discussions around Higuain coming to Arsenal have been front-page fodder for weeks, if not months. Whether this signals a new approach on Wenger’s part or the nature of signing a big name, this signing would mark a shift in how transfers are handled, one that might further open the door to other high-profile signings.
- Competition: both within the squad and against other teams, adding Higuain could have a dramatic impact on everyone’s play. He and Giroud may vie for playing time, and even if Higuain emerges as a clear #1 over Giroud, everyone should benefit from the addition. Should he reclaim his 20 goals a year pace, we could find ourselves scoring earlier in matches, unlocking opponents who might otherwise stifle or thwart us and giving us more room to play aggressively instead of tentatively. This, of course, would lead to fewer losses and fewer draws, putting more pressure on teams that have managed to finish above us in the last few years.