clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

What Gonzalo Higuaín means for the rest of us

New, comments

The former Partenopei star's transfer will reverberate throughout the league, and the Viola are right in the middle of the echo chamber.

Trying really hard to not think about why Sarri has this picture in his wallet.
Trying really hard to not think about why Sarri has this picture in his wallet.
Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Okay, before we get too far into this morass of absurdity, let's all acknowledge that paying dozens of millions of euros for a soccer player is a really ridiculous and bad way to spend money in our broken and damaged world. But, since this is a soccer blog and we're all here to discuss soccer, not the surreal economic landscape of the world at large in relation to sports. Okay, now let's dive into this thing.

Paying €94 million for Gonzalo Higuaín will make Juventus a better soccer team. A front two of Pipita and Paulo Dybala, with Mario Mandžukić and Simone Zaza (and heck, Cristian Pasquato because why not) available off the bench is crazy good for the Bianconeri and crazy bad for anyone who plays against them. I don't think anybody will argue the opposite. Just as helpful to their aspirations of maintaining their hateful grasp on Serie A, though, is depriving Napoli, who've been their nearest rivals for the past several years, of their best player, which probably made the purchase feel a little less dumb.

So. Now Juve have Higuaín, and have offset the loss of Paul Pogba with the purchase of Miralem Pjanić from AS Roma. Juve are busily Bayerning out any wrinkles in Serie A over which they could trip. But they've also given their rivals plenty of money to reinvest. And, frankly, at least some of that money is likely to wind up in Florence.

Napoli have been chasing Nikola Kalinić for the past year, and Maurizio Sarri has been anything but quiet about his borderline creepy obsession with Matías Vecino. Given how flush with cash Napoli are right now, either will probably cost around €25 million, which is plenty enough to start Corvino cooking. So. If Kalinić leaves, that will probably thrust Khouma Babacar back into Paulo Sousa's plans, which would probably keep him in Florence for at least another season. Meanwhile, it would allow the club to pretend to entertain the notion of keeping Mario Gómez, which could also push his price up. All of this, meanwhile, is occurring in a post-Higuaín world, in which the price point for a top international-level striker has been dramatically inflated. As Fiorentina already have plenty of options up top, they'll be able to profit off of their glut of forwards even more than they would have previously.

But what if it's Vecino? Well, the Pogba deal is probably asking a bit much, but the Pjanić purchase will push the price up for proven Serie A midfielders. Vecino and Milan Badelj would see their respective prices soar, especially since both have garnered interest from newly affluent(er) Napoli and Roma.

So, yes, the obvious takeaway here is that Fiorentina will now get lots more money for selling off half their starters. But here's the kicker: while before, it had looked like Gómez, Babacar, and at least one of Badelj, Vecino, or Kalinić was on the outs, this changes the dynamic considerably. With the inflated prices that selling two of those five would probably bring, the Viola wouldn't feel the same pressure to sell a third of those established first-teamers, thus tipping the squad even further into turmoil.

My conclusion from all of this is that the stupid prices set for a handful of Serie A players will prove beneficial to Fiorentina in the long run, provided Corvino continues his track record of investing in youngsters who blossom into stars. It may take another season or two, but the Viola weren't realistically going to win the Scudetto in the next couple of years anyways. This way, there's a chance to sink that money into new players without as much attrition within the squad, laying the foundation for an assault on the top places in the next half decade or so.

And seriously, who the %&$# pays €94 million for Gonzalo Higuaín?