Chelsea are reportedly seeing their chances of landing Napoli forward Dries Mertens fall as he moves closer to a deal with Serie A giants Inter instead.
The 33-year-old has established himself as the Partenopei’s joint all-time top goalscorer after a brilliant spell in Naples, but it looks set to come to an end this summer as his current contract is set to expire.
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Mertens has bagged 121 goals and 73 assists in 311 appearances for the Italian outfit, and so coupled with his experience at international level with Belgium, there is little doubt that he could be a great addition to most squads around Europe even as he enters the latter stages of his career.
With question marks hanging over Olivier Giroud, Pedro and Willian as their respective contracts expire this summer too, Frank Lampard may have a reshuffle in attack ahead of him to ensure that he’s got enough quality and depth and Mertens has been heavily linked with a move, as noted by the Sun.
As per Calciomercato though, via the paper edition of Corriere dello Sport, while it’s suggested that the Blues and Napoli can’t be entirely discounted from the equation just yet, it’s claimed that talks between Mertens and Inter are at an advanced stage and there have been documents exchanged.
It’s not elaborated upon in terms of what those documents entail, but it suggests that Inter are edging ever closer to reaching an agreement to snap up the Belgian ace, with a signing on bonus and add-ons touted as the only possible hurdles left in negotiations.
That doesn’t paint a particularly positive picture as far as Chelsea are concerned as it seems as though Mertens is slipping away and moving closer to joining Inter ahead of next season, and so Lampard and the Blues may well have to either act quickly to try and hijack a deal or start looking elsewhere to bolster his attacking options.