Chelsea have reportedly been handed a boost as contract talks between Dries Mertens and Napoli have stalled as he continues to be linked with a move to Stamford Bridge.
The 32-year-old is set to become a free agent this summer when his current contract expires, as it comes after a prolific stint with the Serie A giants.
Mertens has bagged 121 goals and 73 assists in 311 appearances for the Partenopei, putting him level with Marek Hamsik as the club’s all-time top goalscorer having already surpassed some illustrious names in Diego Maradona and Edinson Cavani.
Prior to that he scored 45 goals and had 43 assists in just 86 outings for PSV Eindhoven, and so he has been one of the more clinical forwards in Europe in recent years.
However, given his current contract situation, doubts remain over his future in Naples. Calciomercato report, via the paper edition of La Repubblica, that while it appeared as though the two parties had been moving towards a renewal agreement, things have stalled and it’s suggested that Mertens now ‘seems far from Napoli’ as the latest setback could be ‘definitive’.
That has coincided with Chelsea stepping up their pursuit of the Belgian international, with the report adding that Frank Lampard is said to have contacted Mertens personally to convince him over a switch to west London ahead of next season.
With Chelsea set to lose Olivier Giroud, Pedro and Willian this summer as things stand if they don’t agree on new contracts themselves, Lampard will be looking at a major reshuffle in attack.
While no fees will be gained if that trio move on, coupled with the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, it could arguably limit Chelsea’s spending on replacements.
In turn, Mertens would perhaps be a smart pick up to fill that potential void, and based on the report above, Chelsea’s chances of prising him away from Napoli could be increasing.