Gonzalo Higuain close to Arsenal move

Madrid, July 4 (IANS) Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain appears to be on the verge of a move to Premier League club Arsenal after the player's father confirmed that Real Madrid have given him permission to speak to the English side.

"We have got the permission of Real Madrid to hold face to face negotiations with Arsenal and with luck I will soon be able to see my son play in the Premier League," Jorge Higuain said, reports Xinhua.

Higuain flew back to Madrid Thursday and everything now indicates he will travel to London in the coming days in order to complete the deal, which means the English side have got their man ahead of Italian champions Juventus, who also wanted to sign the Argentinean international.

Arsenal will pay around 27 million euros for the striker, who has been a guarantee of goals for Real Madrid since joining as a 20-year-old from River Plate in January 2007, when Ramon Calderon was Real Madrid president.

Although he needed time to open his account with Real Madrid, Higuain's first goal came away to Atletico Madrid and the following seasons saw him improve consistently to the point that he has now scored a total of 107 goals in 181 league appearances and a total of 212 goals for the club.

Higuain's great merit has been in always being able to justify his place in the side following the decision of returning president Florentino Perez to buy French international Karim Benzema in 2009.

There has always been the feeling that Higuain has suffered for being a purchase of the former president and that Benzema, despite much less impressive numbers, has always been Perez's preferred player.

The news breaks just a day after Real Madrid presented Spain Under-21 star Isco as a new signing in front of an estimated 7, 000 fans at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium while right back Javier Carvajal, who returns to the club after a year with Bayer Leverkusen, will be presented Friday.

Real Madrid will need to replace Higuain ahead of the forthcoming season and have been linked with several players such as Liverpool's Luis Suarez or Tottenham winger Gareth Bale, although the feeling in Spain is that a deal for Bale may have to wait for another year.

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