Former Argentina striker Hernan Crespo has backed the lucrative summer transfer deal involving compatriot Gonzalo Higuain, claiming that it was more "logical" than Manchester United's high-profile capture of Paul Pogba. The 28-year-old became the costliest player in Italian football history when Juventus activated the €90m (£75.3m, $100.3m) release clause in his Napoli contract in July. At that stage he placed third on the all-time global list, behind only Real Madrid duo Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Such an expensive switch came after Higuain had scaled new heights at Stadio San Paolo in 2015/16, netting 36 times in just 35 appearances to break Gunnar Nordahl's single-season Serie A record, which had stood unbeaten for 66 years.
It is those formidable exploits in front of goal that Crespo believes makes Juve's significant outlay more rational than United's decision to part with a world-record £89m to secure the return of prodigal son Pogba, four years after he first left Old Trafford for Turin amid persistent frustration over a lack of first-team appearances under Sir Alex Ferguson.
"Nobody gives you anything for free, especially not in football," the former River Plate, Parma, Lazio, Inter, Chelsea, Milan and Genoa man told Argentine daily newspaper La Nacion. "If Juventus paid so much to get Higuain from Napoli, it means he's worth that money.
"In my view, it is logical to pay €90m for a striker who scored 36 goals in a single season. It's far more logical than Manchester United paying €110m for Pogba. I say that with all due respect for the Frenchman, who is a great midfielder."
Higuain faced cruel jibes about his weight after appearing for Juventus during a pre-season friendly against West Ham United at the Olympic Stadium last month, but issued a perfect riposte to his critics by coming off the bench to score the winner as Massimiliano Allegri's reigning champions opened their latest Serie A title defence with a late 2-1 win over Fiorentina.
He remained behind Mario Mandzukic in the pecking order for the recent 1-0 defeat of Lazio – failing to score in a 25-minute replacement cameo – and was left out of Edgardo Bauza's Argentina squad for 2018 Conmebol World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Venezuela as he bids to get back in shape and settle into his new surroundings. As a member of the Albiceleste, Higuain has slumped to three final defeats in as many years at the World Cup and Copa America.
Pogba, meanwhile, bounced back from his Euro 2016 final heartbreak and an initial suspension to produce an eye-catching display in his second United debut against Southampton in August. He played a more subdued role in the last-gasp win at Hull City before helping teammate Anthony Martial notch the first goal for France during a 3-1 friendly win over Italy in Bari. Les Bleus begin their road to Russia away in Belarus on Tuesday night (6 September).