According to Sky Sports, Chelsea are in talks with Napoli regarding the potential transfer of Dries Mertens. The Blues are keen on signing a new attacker before January transfer window slams shut. As a result, they have set their sights on Mertens, who could cost only £5 million, though Chelsea could face stiff competition from Inter Milan.
Mertens’ spell at Napoli
Mertens initially joined Napoli in 2013, in a €9 million move from PSV Eindhoven. And after enjoying a relatively slow start to his Serie A career, the Belgian flourished under Maurizio Sarri. The ex-Chelsea coach was the one who shifted Mertens into a more central role in the attack.
As a result, he yielded 28 goals in 35 league games during the 2016/17 campaign. It was followed by a couple of more successful seasons, in which Mertes scored a total of 34 league goals. During his time at Napoli, the Belgian has netted 118 goals in just 300 competitive outings for the Partenopei.
However, Mertens has found it challenging to become a first-team regular for Napoli this season, often been overlooked in favour of Arkadiusz Milik. The 32-year-old has notched up only 983 minutes of league football, and with his current contract expiring at the end of the season, a move away from Naples does make sense.
Is Mertens the right option for Chelsea?
Signing Mertens in this January transfer window could turn out to be a masterstroke from Chelsea. The Blues have really struggled after being denied permission to sign new players in the summer. As a result, they have appeared far too overreliant on the services of Tammy Abraham, as far as productivity is concerned.
Olivier Giroud, meanwhile, has struggled with lack of game-time under Frank Lampard. His contract is expiring at the end of the season, and a move away from west London is likely. Michy Batshuayi, on the other hand, has also found it difficult to muster regular minutes.
Mertens, in that regard, could provide a bit more competition to Abraham in the offensive department. But, what makes him such an appealing target for Chelsea is his versatility.
Indeed, the Belgian can operate in the wide attacking roles, meaning he can also provide cover for the likes of Willian and Callum Hudson-Odoi. And for a fee of just £5 million, signing a player of Mertens’ calibre will be nothing short of a bargain for the Premier League giants.