According to the Express via Het Laatste Nieuws, Napoli talisman Dries Mertens is Chelsea’s priority transfer target this summer, the ace looks set to be available on a free transfer.
Het Laatste Nieuws claim that that the 33-year-old is a ‘top priority’ for the Blues and that the Belgian star is ‘ready for a new adventure’ after seven years with Napoli.
Italian outlet Calciomercato report that the versatile forward is demanding £68,000-a-week (€4m per season) to sign a two-year renewal with Napoli, as well as fines being rescinded and a signing bonus.
Fortunately for the Blues, Napoli’s owner is unwilling to pay over €3m a season to the star, he’s also not prepared to waive the fines – these were imposed on all players after they went against the club’s hierarchy in November.
Corriere dello Sport also report that Chelsea are frontrunners to sign the ace, despite interest from Inter Milan, as Mertens doesn’t wish to stay in Serie A with a team other than Napoli.
Signing an attacker should be a key priority for the Blues in the next transfer window, this will allow them to ease the pressure on academy graduate Tammy Abraham, who has enjoyed a solid season as the Blues’ new No.9.
The Express add that this signing could also allow the west London outfit to part ways with Mertens’ international teammate Michy Batshuayi, who has been unconvincing during his time with the Blues.
This could actually be a very wise signing from Frank Lampard, Mertens is capable of playing anywhere across the front line – meaning he can play alongside Abraham rather than take his place and stunt his development.
Mertens, who is Napoli’s joint-top scorer of all-time, can flourish in a centre-forward role, just off the striker or on either wing.
As per Transfermarkt, the Belgium international has bagged 218 goals and 164 assists during his career. A total of 382 goal contributions at club level is absolutely amazing.
Mertens has the exact kind of expertise and proven goal contributions record to play a key role for the Blues for a couple of years.