Real locked in Higuain talks
By Patricio Figueroa and Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Real Madrid and River Plate are currently negotiating over a deal for Gonzalo Higuain.
Real Madrid and River Plate are currently locked in talks that could finally see highly-rated teenage striker Gonzalo Higuain join the Spanish giants.
The 19-year-old sensation has been courted by a number of European sides following his exploits in Argentina, but Los Merengues have led the race all along and appear to be closing in on a deal following the news that River treasurer Hector Grinberg travelled to Spain on Tuesday.
Grinberg has been meeting with Real sporting director Predrag Mijatovic at the Bernabeu in an attempt to conclude negotiations, with the River paymaster admitting: "I have received an invitation from Real Madrid for restarting the negotiations for Higuain."
Higuain - currently the subject of a battle between France and Argentina regarding his international future - has always maintained his preference is Madrid, and reports in the Spanish capital suggest he has already concurred on a seven-year deal with the Liga titans.
The final transfer fee remains a sticking point as Real appear reluctant to move above é¼10 million (£6.7 million), whilst River are holding out for a figure closer to é¼12 million (£8.1 million).
The striker underlined his quality with a goal in River's last game of the Apertura season against Velez Sarsfield last weekend, and, with his French passport meaning he will not take up a valuable non-EU slot in Real's squad, the Spanish giants seem determined to secure the signature of one of world football's most talked about teenagers.
Los Merengues are also chasing a deal for Boca Juniors' Fernando Gago who could be confirmed as a Real capture following his club's title play-off against Estudiantes.
The player, tagged 'the new Fernando Redondo', has been the subject of criticism from Boca fans who claim his performances have suffered as a result of negotiations with Real.
However, Boca legend Diego Maradona has defended the club's teenage sensation from accusations that his form has been affected by talk of a transfer.
"It is impossible that Fernando has lowered his performance because he is thinking about Real Madrid," said Maradona in Marca.
"I am sure that on the pitch Gago does not think about his transfer, but in winning and leaving as champion with Boca."