Higuain scored 36 league goals for Napoli last season.
Higuain scored 36 league goals for Napoli last season.
PHOTO: Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images

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Juventus sign Gonzalo Higuain in $99M transfer

Only Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale have cost more

Higuain deal may precipitate a domino effect in the European transfer market

(CNN) —  

Gonzalo Higuain has become the world’s third most expensive player of all time, after the 28-year-old completed his move from Napoli to Juventus for a fee of $99 million.

“Juventus can confirm that it has purchased the registration rights of Gonzalo Higuain for €90 million, payable in two financial years,” said a statement on the Juventus website.

The Argentine international, who was born in Brest in France in 1987, has joined the Italian champions on a five-year contract.

Higuain ended the 2015/16 Serie A season with 36 goals, an all-time league record and as many as Juventus strikers Paulo Dybala (19), Mario Mandzukic (11) and Alvaro Morata (6) combined. Higuain might have reached a tally of 40, but missed four penalties out of the seven he took.

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Criticized for a lack of ruthlessness on the international stage, the Argentine has nonetheless been prolific in the blue of Napoli, registering the most shots in Serie A since he made his move to Italy from Real Madrid in 2013 and scoring 71 league goals – 23 more than any other player in that period.

He joins fellow summer signings Dani Alves, Miralem Pjanic, Medhi Benatia and Marko Pjaca, signing a four-year-contract with Massimiliano Allegri’s side after the striker’s minimum fee release clause was met.

Only Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale – signed by Real Madrid in 2009 and 2013 respectively – have exceeded Higuain’s fee.

Higuain’s lucrative move could precipitate a domino effect in the European transfer market amid speculation that Paul Pogba may be on his way out of Juventus to Manchester United.

The 23-year-old Pogba left United on a free transfer in 2012, but is likely to break Bale’s all-time transfer record if he makes the move back to the Premier League this summer.

As for Napoli, manager Maurizio Sarri looks set to spend the proceeds of Higuain’s sale on Ajax striker Arek Milik, with Dutch media already linking the 22-year-old Euro 2016 star with the Italian club for a fee of around $35 million.

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