Zola: Higuain can succeed like I did

HiguainGianfranco Zola has backed new Chelsea striker Gonzalo Higuain to emulate the successful transition he made from Serie A to the Premier League.

Higuain completed a loan move to Chelsea from Juventus on Wednesday that will see him remain in London until the end of the season, with the club holding the option to extend the deal.

Zola, who is now assistant coach to Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge, arrived at Chelsea in 1996 from Parma, before establishing himself as a club legend during his seven-year spell in the Premier League.

“It is exactly the same question they posed when I came over here and it’s the same question they pose (all foreign) players when they come over here,” Zola said on Friday.

“We know that he’s coming from a different league, maybe a league where the intensity and the rhythms are lower than the Premier League. But we are also talking about a player that has scored not only in Italy, but everywhere.

“He’s scored in the Champions League, so we are talking about a top player.”

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The best season of Higuain’s career came under Sarri’s guidance at Napoli, when he scored 36 goals during their 2015/16 Serie A campaign.

Higuain was introduced to Chelsea supporters ahead of Thursday night’s Carabao Cup semi-final penalty-shootout victory over Tottenham and is in contention to make his debut in the FA Cup on Sunday.

“We haven’t decided yet. He (Higuain) could be (selected) – it’s an opportunity,” Zola said.

“We play a game on our pitch and there are players that probably need to be rested and it could be an opportunity but to be honest we haven’t discussed it yet.

“Everybody knows his best quality is his goalscoring record. He’s a player that can score in many ways so we hope he can bring that quality to this team, (which) at this moment is very much necessary.”