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Gonzalo Higuain Napoli rejected Arsenal, Atletico bids

Arsenal and Atletico Madrid each made an unacceptable offer for Gonzalo Higuain, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has said.

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Napoli rejected bids from Arsenal and Atletico Madrid for Gonzalo Higuain, according to club president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

The Gunners were heavily linked with a move for the striker during the transfer window, but manager Arsene Wenger was reportedly unwilling to meet the release clause of €94million.

De Laurentiis claimed in July that Atletico had made an offer of "€60m, plus two or three players", which was promptly rejected, but he has now suggested that Arsenal also made a bid that he deemed unacceptable.

"I think we received some requests from Arsenal. Personally, I also received a request from Atletico Madrid," he told Standard Sport.

"But they didn't put enough money on the table. We were not ready to sell him – for me Higuain was not for sale."

Higuain ultimately joined Juventus in a €90m deal, but De Laurentiis says Napoli offered him a better contract than the Serie A champions in order to tempt him to stay.

"One year earlier I offered another five-year contract to Higuain and his brother," he said. "I said 'I will offer to you X'. It was more money than what he is getting right now from Juventus."

Napoli signed Arkadiusz Milik from Ajax as Higuain's replacement and the Poland international has made a strong start to his career in Italy, scoring seven goals in nine appearances.

"Milik is a good player, he's fantastic," De Laurentiis said. "Everybody now is saying Higuain is from another planet, but I remember when Higuain came to Napoli they were not so convinced.

"Real Madrid were doing well, but he was not playing all the time. Also with Argentina he had made some mistakes – it can happen to everybody.

"Right now Higuain is from another planet. Probably in two years they will say the same for Milik. The soccer 'blah, blah, blah, blah' is always the same."

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