By Richard Parks
Gonzalo Higuain has been ruled out of Juventus’ weekend clash against Lazio and is in a race-against-time bid to be fit for the Champions League showdown against Tottenham next Wednesday.
Juve manager Max Allegri revealed at his pre-match media conference today (Friday) that the striker, 30, is still recovering from the ankle injury he sustained against Torino last month.
But there is some good news for Juventus as Higuain’s fellow forward Paulo Dybala is set to start in Sunday’s fixture at the Olimpico Stadium after two months out.
“Higuain won’t be in the squad, but Dybala and Buffon will start. Chiellini could rest,” Allegri said, as quoted by Football Italia. “Higuain trained, but for London it’s too early to say, although we’re confident and optimistic.
“He’s in pain, otherwise he would’ve come to Roma with us. We’re not thinking about Tottenham. Lazio are the priority.”
Higuain did not make the matchday squad for the Serie A champions’ 1-0 Coppa Italia win against Atalanta on Tuesday night and has been undergoing round-the-clock medical attention to get him fit for Wembley in five days.
The scoreline of the last-16 Champions League match is locked at 2-2 following the thriller in Turin and Juventus are doing everything they can to make sure their main man is available for the match in five days’ time.
Football Insider verdict:
Tottenham’s defenders will be doing cartwheels if the prolific striker can’t make the second leg. Higuain is every bit as important to Juventus as Harry Kane is to Tottenham. Like the king of White Hart Lane, he brings a cast-iron guarantee of goals and his portfolio during a decade at the top at Juve, Napoli and Real Madrid shows he is a penalty box operator supreme. Tottenham will hope he doesn’t recover in time, but should expect him to do so.
In other Tottenham transfer news, the club have agreed terms to sign up a midfielder in a deal which Daniel Levy shook hands on two months ago.