Chelsea and Manchester United keeping close tabs on Mertens
Napoli forward Dries Mertens is in high demand with Premier League giants Chelsea and Manchester United are ready to outbid each-other for his signature.
Dries Mertens has been in sensational form this season for Napoli claiming 33 goals and 8 assists across all competitions. Since joining from PSV Eindhoven in 2013, Mertens had been primarily used as a winger. But after Gonzalo Higuain’s departure at the start of this season, Mertens has established himself as a clinical striker too. His versatility has caught the attention of the European elites.
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has many times reiterated his desire to keep hold of Mertens. He is increasingly confident that Mertens will extend his stay at the Stadio San Paolo. But Calciomercato.com claims that Mertens and Napoli have gone through some disagreement regarding the new 3-year extension offered to him which would have included a £30m buyout clause in his contract.
Belgian daily Het Laatste Nieuws reports that Manchester United and Chelsea have been closely monitoring Mertens’ situation. It further claims that Manchester United are ready to offer £4.3m-a year-wage to snatch the 30-year-old Belgian away from the clutches of Chelsea.
Manchester United have been defensively solid this season. But their problems inside the attacking half were exposed again and again. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic almost certain to leave the club after this season, the Red Devils are linked with a host of forwards with Antoine Griezmann, James Rodriguez, Ivan Perisic, Kylian Mbappe and Yacine Brahimi have already made the list. Dries Mertens is the latest addition to that long list of targets of Mourinho to ease their problems going forward.
Chelsea have already been crowned the English champions this season. Much of the credit of that success goes to their talismanic striker Diego Costa. But as the things stand now, Costa is going to ply his trade at China next season. Moreover, their new signing Michy Batshuayi hasn’t done anything special this season either too convince their Italian gaffer Antonio Conte. So, Conte might look up to Dries Mertens to replace China-bound Diego Costa.
West Ham have also popped up as a strong contender for Mertens’ signature. West Ham boss Stevan Bilic is genuinely concerned with their performance in the final third this season. Their forwards have underperformed and their star player Dimitri Payet left the club to join Marseille. Their top scorer this season is midfielder Michail Antonio. That forces Bilic to dip into the transfer market. Bilic thinks Mertens is the perfect fit for the Hammers and ready to spend upto £25m to bring the Belgian international at the London Stadium.
Since joining Napoli, Mertens has made a total of 130 Serie A appearances scoring 47 goals and provided further 32 assists. With Napoli, Mertens has won the Coppa Italia 2013-14 and the Supercoppa Italiana 2014. He has been an integral member of the Belgian national squad since making his debut in 2011.