Manchester United are reportedly being tipped to seal the transfer of Napoli forward Dries Mertens this summer amid doubts over Anthony Martial’s future.
The Independent recently claimed United were willing to make changes in attack this summer by offering Anthony Martial to Chelsea as part of an exchange deal for Willian.
This comes after both Martial and Marcus Rashford failed to take their chance to impress when handed starts in the 1-0 defeat to Brighton in the Premier League.
It would be little surprise if manager Jose Mourinho favoured bringing in more proven, experienced players in that part of the pitch, and Mertens could perfectly fit the bill.
The 31-year-old has burst into some of the best form of his career in the last two seasons, scoring 34 goals last season and following that up with 22 this term.
The Belgium international could clearly add something to this United side and Gazzetta dello Sport, translated by Sport Witness, report that Old Trafford could be his next move and that he’s available for his release clause of just £24million.
Mertens would be a much-needed addition to improve United’s attack, with Mourinho’s side sometimes struggling to break teams down or show enough craft in the final third in big games this season, costing them a genuine shot at the title and also seeing them crash out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage.
Martial, however, is much loved by the club’s fans and has long been regarded as a huge prospect for the future, so it remains to be seen how well this deal would go down if it ended up pushing him out.
Still, with the cut-throat nature of modern football, Mourinho may well be aware he doesn’t have long at United unless he wins major honours quickly.
With that in mind, bringing in a ready-made goal-scorer like Mertens may be the safest bet for him instead of putting more time into helping Martial fulfil his potential – which could take a few seasons as the 22-year-old remains some way away from his peak years.
Football purists might not like it and it isn’t exactly the traditional United way, but, if as the Express report, United could get £60m for Martial, then Sport Witness’ reported fee of £24m for Mertens coming in as a replacement seems like great business.