Gonzalo Higuain absent from Milan pictures in Saudi Arabia ahead of Supercoppa final with striker only making the bench for Juventus clash as he pushes for move to Chelsea
- Gonzalo Higuain is on the bench for the Italian Supercoppa final in Saudi Arabia
- The Argentinean international has been strongly linked with a move to Chelsea
- Maurizio Sarri is desperate to sign the striker, who is currently on loan at Milan
- He was in training on Tuesday, but he was absent from a Wednesday photo call
- READ: Higuain attempting to force Chelsea move with Sarri desperate for striker
Gonzalo Higuain has been omitted from pictures of the Milan squad visiting Saudi royalty and has only made the bench for their Supercoppa clash — fuelling suggestions that he is closing in on a move to Chelsea.
The Serie A side met Saudi Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, who is President of the country’s General Sport Authority, but there was no sign of the Argentinean striker as the entire team – along with chief executive Ivan Gazidis – posed for a photo ahead of their clash with Juventus.
The club also released pictures from a stretching session inside the venue, with Higuain again nowhere to be seen.
The entire squad was pictured in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, but Higuain was absent
Higuain has made it clear to his temporary and parent clubs that he wishes to move to London and be reunited with Maurizio Sarri.
Sarri, who managed the 31-year-old at Napoli, is adamant that he will be the answer to Chelsea’s problems in front of goal, and the club have been working hard to convince Juventus to recall the forward from his current loan deal.
the Argentinean striker trained with his team-mates on Tuesday but was absent on Wednesday
Meanwhile, Chelsea fans were put on alert by the news, with a number convinced that the Argentinean’s ailments are all a smokescreen ahead of a move to Stamford Bridge.
One Twitter user wrote: ‘Higuain has a fever you say? More like he’s getting ready to move to West London.’
While another said: ‘Higuain has a “fever”. Probably the “Chelsea sign me up ASAP” fever.’
Why is it being played in Saudi Arabia?
Italy has played its Super Cup overseas for a number of years as it looks to promote the nation’s football around the world.
Destinations as diverse as China, Libya, the USA and Qatar have all hosted the Supercoppa in recent years.
Saudi Arabia and the Italian FA have reached and agreement which will see the Middles Eastern state host three of the next five Super Cups.
Matteo Salvini, Italy’s deputy prime minister, has criticised the decision to play the game in Saudi Arabia with some sections of the stadium reserved for men only.
He said on a Facebook Live broadcast: “That the Italian Super Cup is played in an Islamic country where women can’t go to the stadium if they’re not accompanied by men is a sadness, a rubbish, I won’t watch the game.”
And Italian journalist and politician Laura Boldrini tweeted: “Women can go to the Super Coppa Italiana stadium only if accompanied by a man. Are you kidding me?”
What is the Supercoppa Italiana?
It is effectively the Italian version of the Community Shield where the league champions face the domestic cup winners.
Juventus won the double last year, running away with the Serie A title and thrashing AC Milan 4-0 in the Coppa Italia final.
In the Community Shield, if a team wins the Premier League and FA Cup double, they play the second-placed team at Wembley.
In Italy, however, the Serie A and Coppa Italia winners take on the cup runners-up in the Supercoppa.
What is the team news?