Arsenal Transfer Rumors: Higuain Inches Closer to Benitez and Napoli

Ernesto MalaveCorrespondent IJuly 23, 2013

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 26: Gonzalo Higuain of Real Madrid CF reacts after failing to score during the La Liga match between Real Sociedad de Futbol and Real Madrid CF at Estadio Anoeta on May 26, 2013 in San Sebastian, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger looks set to lose out on a major transfer target as Napoli manager Rafa Benitez's £30 million offer for Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain has been accepted by the Italian club, according to The Express' James Dickerson. Higuain will now contemplate his options, as the move is not official as of yet.

If Wenger truly has £70 million to spend, as evidenced in this report by Jamie Sanderson in the Metro, he must get on with spending some of it on a striker soon.

Arsene is reportedly preparing a £40 million second bid for Luis Suarez, but Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers values the striker higher than that, some £55 million according to this ESPN report. Spending £55 million for a striker who can't even play the first two months of the season would surely be a waste. Times are desperate, but that is too high a price.

That leaves...who, exactly?

Wenger has said he wants another forward, and Valencia striker Roberto Soldado is one option. His 28 goals in 42 appearances puts him ahead of Manchester City's recent signing, former Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo.

Sid Lowe at the Guardian reports that a bid is incoming from Tottenham, but should Arsenal meet his release clause of £26 million the striker could be set for the Emirates instead.

AS Roma forward Pablo Osvaldo is another solid choice. The 27-year-old is coming off of a successful season, tied with Stephan El Shaarawy for the third-highest goal tally in Serie A.

The striker does not currently enjoy the best relationship with management at Roma, and the club tried sending him off to SouthamptonThe Daily Mail reports renewed interest from that club, with others surely to follow. Should Arsene fancy the forward, now is the time.

An outside option much in line with Wenger's tastes is young Udinese forward Luis Muriel.

At 22, his 10 goals in 15 starts in a squad boasting the ever prolific Antonio Di Natale is nothing to scoff at.

As Martin Laurence of Who Scored? explains in his fantastically detailed scouting report, Muriel shows signs of being an extremely consistent striker, already among Europe's 10 best in chance conversion. 

The truth is, Arsenal are running out of options. If they had planned on buying big this window, they've already missed a few boats. Mario Gomez, Stevan Jovetic, even Edinson Cavani...these are names Arsenal could have afforded.

Who else should Arsene look to this summer? Have your say in the comments!