Gonzalo Higuain wants to emulate Maradona's success at Napoli

Higuain opted to join Napoli over Arsenal. Photo: sscnapoli.it

Gonzalo Higuain plans to channel the performances of Diego Maradona and help Napoli challenge for a first Serie A title in 24 years.

The Argentinian striker, who arrived from Real Madrid last week after scoring 122 times for the Spanish club, has been charged with replacing the goals that departed to Paris St Germain when Edinson Cavani was sold last month.

Higuain, 25, fielded questions about becoming the Uruguayan's heir at the Stadio San Paolo during tonight's unveiling, but the chance to follow the footsteps of his mercurial countryman Maradona holds more appeal.

After leaving Barcelona, Maradona helped Napoli claim the Scudetto in both 1987 and 1990, winning the World Cup during his spell in Italy and bringing up 88 goals in total for the Azzurri.

Higuain told reporters: "The last Scudetto arrived when Maradona was here and we want to win it this year - that's the plan. It would be wonderful.

"In this city there is total devotion to Maradona. I felt the affection from the people as soon as I stepped foot in the San Paolo, it's a legendary stadium."

New coach Rafael Benitez, who this week signed Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina on loan, is now tasked with improving on last year's second-placed finish to bring a third title to Naples.

Benitez has also signed defender Raul Albiol and forward Jose Callejon from Real, and winger Dries Mertens from PSV Eindhoven, with players including Jackson Martinez of Porto rumoured to be arriving soon.

"There was some really good work done here last season, but this season we can aim higher," Higuain added. "We want to compete on all fronts.

"We have a great club here and a great coach who has put an excellent squad together."

Higuain had been linked with Premier League side Arsenal since announcing he was leaving Madrid after six seasons, and he admitted choosing Napoli before other suitors had not been straightforward.

"I thought long and hard while deciding whether or not to come here," he added. "I was also influenced by the advice of some of my former team-mates in Madrid.

"I spoke to my Argentinian friends who had been to Naples, and also with 'Pepe' Reina. I'm happy to be here and I hope to repay the faith they've shown in me."

Higuain also spoke of his admiration for his predecessor in the Azzurri frontline, Uruguay star Cavani, who notched 104 goals over three seasons before joining PSG for 64million euros.

"Am I the heir to Cavani?" he said. "He did really well at Napoli and I hope to do well too.

"That's what I have to aspire to and I just hope everything goes well."