CARLO ANCELOTTI'S appointment as Real Madrid manager finally was confirmed yesterday, with Arsenal now hoping to push through the signing of Gonzalo Higuain before the start of pre-season training on July 4.
A deal has been agreed in principle but negotiations have been slowed amid the managerial uncertainty at Madrid and there is now confidence that the Argentina international will become Arsene Wenger's record signing at around £22million.
Ancelotti's arrival will also help finalise the future of Napoli forward Edinson Cavani, who is understood to favour a move to the Bernabeu above joining Jose Mourinho at Chelsea.
A Napoli-based radio station claimed yesterday that a £49.3m deal had been agreed with Chelsea but, although Mourinho is keen on signing Cavani, nothing will be finalised until the player returns from the Confederations Cup with Uruguay.
Chelsea's first offering was for around £40m and Cavani's buy-out clause stands at £53m, a fee that has already encouraged Manchester City to evaluate other targets.
"I don't think I'm worth that much," said Cavani yesterday.
"I want to sit down face to face with the club president and decide my future together.
"Real are one of the best clubs in the world, but there is no deal yet."
Radio Marte yesterday reported that Chelsea had already made an acceptable offer. "We have received news in the office from a very reliable source that Napoli have sealed a deal with Chelsea for Cavani's sale," it said.
"Rafa Benitez also gave the all-clear but before making the move official. Napoli want to secure the striker who will replace Il Matador."
Chelsea have not commented on this report. They did though formally announce the £18m signing of Bayer Leverkusen forward Andre Schurrle.
As well as Higuain, Wenger is evaluating his options in central midfield, central defence and among his goalkeepers.
Arsenal failed with a January deadline day bid for Toulouse midfielder Etienne Capoue but have been monitoring other alternatives, including Celtic's Victor Wanyama.