In reports which emerged on Monday, it has been suggested by The Express that Real Madrid could dangle Gonzalo Higuain plus cash in front of Liverpool as they go on the offensive in their pursuit of Luis Suarez.
Ian Ayre, the Merseyside club’s managing director, has spoken to Bloomberg about the club’s desire to keep the Uruguayan, but Los Blancos know only too well of the forward’s desire to move on – they’ll hope this latest bid will be enough to force Liverpool’s hand.
And if they are to lose their star player, Brendan Rodgers’ side could do worse than land Higuain. The striker has never felt truly appreciated at the Bernabeu, despite his goal scoring record which, even when compared with Suarez, still remains particularly impressive.
The Argentinian managed 16 goals in 28 league appearances last season, although in only 13 of those matches did he complete the full game, he was present for 1721 minutes in a Madrid shirt, averaging a goal every 107.6 minutes. In comparison, Suarez’s 23 goals came at an average of one every 128.4 minutes.
A major factor in Higuain’s better goals per minute ratio is the clinical nature of his finishing. The 25-year-old maintained a shot accuracy of 65 percent throughout the last campaign and, even more impressively, managed to convert 33% of his chances. Over in the Premier League, his South American counterpart recorded a 54% shot accuracy, but only managed to convert 16.1% of his opportunities.
That is of course all relative, as Suarez brings far more to Liverpool than merely his goals. The 26-year-old created 89 chances for his team mates – nearly three a match – although only five of them led directly to a goal. Higuain himself also managed five assists, although he only worked 22 chances.
Suarez’s weaving with the ball and close control is a major asset though, and one which would excite fans of any football club. He successfully embarked on 95 take ons throughout the last campaign, something Higuain would be unable to offer the Anfield faithful.
The stats, a knowledge of Higuain’s past and common sense suggest that Suarez’s goals could be replaced by the Madrid striker; what you can never replace in a player of that calibre is something Simon Cowell would call the “X-Factor.” Whatever it is, it can certainly be argued that Suarez has got it.
But as he has vocally voiced his desire to leave the club, the potential offer on the table involving Higuain could be Liverpool’s best option – providing the striker himself is happy with the move to England. He could never directly replace Suarez, but even with £40 million that would be a tough task for a club unable to offer Champions League football.