Chelsea were seemingly quite close to sealing the transfer of Napoli star Dries Mertens back in January, according to Belgian journalist Kristof Terreur.
Speaking to BBC 5 Live, as quoted by BBC Sport, Terreur suggests the Blues were making some headway on a deal for Mertens, only for the 33-year-old to decide he wanted to remain with his current club, where he enjoys hero status.
“In January when Chelsea knocked on the door, he was quite convinced,” Terreur said.
“But once you are in the south of Italy, with good money and you are a god, why would you change that?
“He would come to the Premier League as a nobody and in Italy he is a star.”
Mertens recently became Napoli’s all-time leading goal-scorer with 122 goals, so it makes sense that he felt the desire to stay with the Serie A giants and make history.
Still, Terreur’s suggestion that the Belgium international would be a “nobody” in the Premier League seems pretty bizarre, as he’s been a big name in Europe for so long now and would surely be very warmly welcomed at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea need to strengthen up front after a difficult season, and Mertens could have been an ideal option for the club, with many CFC fans likely to be well aware of his ability.
All in all, it sounds like Mertens took the safe option in remaining where he is, so perhaps Chelsea fans will feel his character might not have been quite right for them anyway.