In-demand Higuain is loving life in Naples

Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain has dispelled rumours linking him with a January transfer by declaring his love for life in Italy.

The Argentina international has been linked with a move to Chelsea in recent days, having scored nine goals in 16 Serie A appearances since joining from Real Madrid in the close-season.

But Higuain insists he could not be happier with having made the move to the Italian city, and is committed to to the Stadio San Paolo outfit's title challenge.

"Naples is an immensely intense city - it’s incredible. Football matters most, then everything else," he told Argentine newspaper Ole. "For someone like me, who loves sport, it's a beautiful place as the people here exist just for that.

"For better, for worse, I thank God that everyone showed me tremendous affection immediately. It made me feel very much at home.

"Neapolitans are passionate almost to an extreme - and I love that.

"I've never regretted the choice I made coming here. President (Aurelio) De Laurentiis won me over immediately, as did his project with a coach of the calibre of Rafa Benitez.

"All that motivates me to help the team grow, to rewrite the annals of the club. We know it will be tough, but it will be an interesting battle.”

And Higuain feels a notable fellow Argentinian has paved the way for players from the South American nation to settle quickly in Naples.

"Then there's Diego Maradona," he continued. "He has a special place in their (Neapolitans) heart, so that's why an Argentinian in Naples will always receive a warm welcome.

"Maradona will be remembered here for eternity. He’s never left the hearts of the Neapolitans. He did a lot for the team, so Naples will love him forever."

Napoli currently sit third in the Italian top flight, 10 points adrift of leaders Juventus, and face a last 32 clash with Swansea City in the UEFA Europa League, and Higuain admits his time at the club is improving him as a player.

"I believe that my time in Italy will enable me to develop into a better player, something that also influenced my decision to play there, in a different league with new challenges," he added.