Chelsea are believed to have made a fresh offer to sign Napoli forward Dries Mertens on a free transfer at the end of the season.
The Belgian was one of the Blues’ targets in January, but the Belgian changed his stance and began negotiating a new contract. It appeared as though a deal was almost done, but talks are understood to have stalled once more.
As it stands, Mertens will become a free agent at the end of the season, and RAI journalist Paolo Paganini revealed to Radio Kiss Kiss (via AreaNapoli) that Chelsea and Inter are keen to take advantage of that.
“[On Mertens leaving], if he went away, Napoli could place a double shot and sign two players instead of one,” Paganini explained
“Inter and Chelsea have relaunched moves for the Belgian, offering him a higher salary.”
Mertens has been billed as a replacement for Olivier Giroud, whose contract is also set to expire at the end of the season. The Frenchman has been heavily linked with Inter, and that deal could give Chelsea a free run at Mertens’ signature.
At 32 years old, Mertens does not exactly fit in with Chelsea’s strategy of signing young players, but what he does bring is real quality in attack.
Apart from this season, in which Mertens has been one of many Napoli players who have underwhelmed, the Belgian has been one of Serie A‘s top marksmen for a few years now, which is the kind of reputation Chelsea need from a new signing.
His versatility – he is comfortable out on the wing as well – would mean that he could even play alongside Tammy Abraham, rather than limit the Englishman’s opportunities in attack, which could make him the ideal signing.
A source has confirmed to 90min that Chelsea are prepared to spend big on a striker this summer, but landing Mertens on a free would leave the Blues will plenty of money to spend on other areas of the squad instead.
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