By Alex Taylor
Liverpool have been placed on red alert after Gonzalo Higuain rejected a new contract with Napoli.
The Argentine forward has been the subject of strong European interest this summer as clubs look to bolster their attacks.
It was claimed by Argentinian outlet TyC Sports last Friday that the former Real Madrid forward was to snub all offers by putting pen to paper on a four-year deal worth £21million, equivalent to £100,000-a-week.
But Higuain’s brother and agent Nicolas revealed the striker will not accept a new deal at Napoli unless president AngeloDe Laurentiis agrees to remove the daunting £78million release clause.
This has offered hope to Liverpool, who have been strongly linked to Higuain after manager Jurgen Klopp was pictured watching him in action last month.
“This is the situation,” Nicolas Higuain told radio show Closs Continental, as quoted by ESPN FC. “The president is asking for the clause to be paid to let go of Gonzalo, and we have the right to refuse to renew.
“We arrived at Napoli with the promise of a successful project, playing in the Champions League and winning the Scudetto, with improved facilities and a desire to grow. It wasn’t right of the club to ignore those commitments.
“Aurelio De Laurentiis has every right to demand the clause in his contract be paid, but my brother and I have decided not to accept a renewal.
“We’ll see what happens next year with Napoli, given that his contract expires in 2018 when he turns 30.
“For now we’ll continue to abide by the contract, after that I don’t know what will happen, whether a club will be able to buy him or not.
“We have a contract with Napoli and, as a great professional, Gonzalo will continue to respect it. He’ll train correctly and give his all.
“But it absolutely won’t be renewed if things stay this way.”
The forward scored more than a goal a game this season, netting 36 times in 35 league games and providing two assists along the way, helping to guide the Italian outfit to a second placed finish in Serie A.
The former Real Madrid forward has two years remaining on his current contract but could be tempted by a move to the Premier League.
Nicolas added to Closs Continental: “If an offer comes in? It all depends on De Laurentiis, he’d have to accept it. We’re convinced not to renew the contract, then we’ll see if the president accepts an offer lower than the clause.
“Gonzalo, in sporting terms, has very different ideas to the club at the moment. They still want to buy young players with potential, but we want to win!”
Higuain has just finished competing at the Copa America in which Argentina lost to Chile on penalties in the final.
In other Liverpool transfer news, Norwich are preparing a £2.5million bid for Liverpool starlet Sergi Canos, according to a report.