Friends re-united? Why Sarri and Higuain have unfinished business

Many may feel Gonzalo Higuain owes Maurizio Sarri a favour and Steve Mitchell reckons he could be about to repay that debt at Chelsea…


Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is desperate to off-load miss-firing striker Alvaro Morata and by the time you read this, who knows, he may even have took the Spaniard down to Camden Market to see if there are any takers before the end of the January transfer window.

For the Italian tactician, it’s a bit like when you split up with your long-standing partner; have a bit on the side before realising who you really wanted all along.

This is why Sarri and Argentine frontman Gonzalo Higuain have unfinished business together, if Chelsea manage to get him to Stamford Bridge for the second half of the season.

Sarri took over at Napoli in 2015, two years after Higuain had joined the southern Italian giants and it was a match made in heaven, despite things getting off to a bad start when the Argentine reported back for pre-season training about two stone overweight.

Sarri knew he had inherited a quality striker though and quickly whipped Higuain into shape, with the player going on to score 38 goals in all competitions that season – virtually the same amount he had scored in his previous two combined.

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It looked at one stage as though Napoli were finally going to break the Juventus dominance and win their first Scudetto since 1990, but Higuain lost his head in an away match at Udinese, getting sent-off as his side went down 3-1 to pass the advantage back to the Bianconeri, who never relinquished the lead.

Never mind, Higuain was all set to sign a new deal in the summer of 2016, telling Napoli fans not to worry and he’d see them all in August. Little did anyone know that the player had already started talking to Juventus, whose policy was to buy up anyone who may cause a threat to their domestic dominanc2. £81m later, he was holding up a Bianconeri jersey at Juve HQ in Turin to leave Neapolitans devastated.

Sales of toilet paper doubled in Naples after this, especially the ones that had Higuains’s face splattered all over them which were on sale on every street corner.

Sarri kept his council as the player and Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis waged war, blaming each other for the acrimonious split.

To his credit, the one person Higuain never criticised was his former boss who always believed that one day the pair would be re-united despite a return to Napoli now being a non-starter.


As soon as Sarri landed in West London last summer, the player he always wanted to lead his attack was Higuain.

Now at Milan, the Argentine has already lost patience with his new boss Gennaro Gattuso, who has been critical of the fact that he’s only scored once in the last three months for the Rossoneri.

As reports in Italy suggest a parting of the ways could be imminent, Sarri has seen his chance and the fall-guy in this instance is Morata, who quite frankly looks fed up to the back teeth with life at The Bridge.

Luckily for Sarri and astonishingly for most observers, there are teams out there that are still prepared to take him, with Atletico Madrid and Barcelona the latest to be linked with a move for his services.

As for Higuain, the 31-year-old is sitting tight and waiting for something to happen, hoping he can finally link up with his former mentor.

If it happens, the player could be given a new lease of life, just like in 2015 and with the Blues still competing on three fronts, maybe Higuain will finally have a chance to thank the man who resurrected his career in Serie A.

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