Higuain surgery scheduled, no stand-in for Mourinho

Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain will undergo surgery to fix a slipped disc that has sidelined him since November in the United States next week, the Spanish club said today. The 23-year-old Argentine international will be operated on at Chicago's Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine on Tuesday, it said in a statement.

Real revealed at the beginning of December that the player had sustained a slipped disc that could require an operation, prompting media speculation that the club could bring in another striker in the January transfer window. But Real coach Jose Mourinho said yesterday that he spoke to Real president Florentino Perez about the possibility of signing another player a couple of days ago but the response was not encouraging.

After the investments made last year, the club is not much inclined to sign another striker.
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho on the chances of signing someone in Gonzalo Higuain's absence

"I don't have much hope that anyone will arrive. After the investments made last year, the club is not much inclined to sign another striker," he told a news conference ahead of today's Copa del Rey tie at Levante. "As it is Real Madrid it can't be just any player. It is not an easy situation but they pay me to get the most out of the players at my disposal."

Higuain, who was signed from River Plate in 2007, has been Mourinho's first choice striker ahead of French international Karim Benzema. He has scored seven times in 12 appearances for the club in the Spanish league this season. Real currently sit second in La Liga, two points behind arch-rivals Barcelona.