Dries Mertens has put contract talks with Napoli on hold, with Liverpool showing interest in acquiring the services of the Belgian forward, as per reports.
Italian publication Calciomercato have reported that Dries Mertens has stalled contract negotiations with Napoli, with economic reasons being identified as the issue for putting talks on hold. Merseyside rivals Liverpool and Everton have showed an interest in signing the Belgium international.
A lot has been made out of how this is Belgium’s golden generation, with a squad of world class players representing the country. And while the likes of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku have regularly grabbed the headlines, one player has been putting in the hard yards away from the spotlight.
Not anymore, because Dries Mertens has established himself as a headline grabber this season. The 29-year-old forward is enjoying his best season so far and has set the stage on fire in the Serie A with his goalscoring exploits with Napoli.
Usually a winger when playing for Belgium, Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri has chosen to deploy Mertens as a centre forward in the absence of Arkadisuz Milik, and he hasn’t disappointed. The 29-year-old has found the back of the net 20 times in addition to 10 assists, with a goal coming every 94 minutes.
16 of those goals have come in the Serie A, as a result of which he sit on top of the goalscoring charts in the Italian top flight, alongside former Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain. Mertens has impressively hit three hat-tricks and he will be fancying his chances of becoming the Capocannoniere in Serie A this season.
His exploits in front of goal haven’t gone unnoticed with Merseyside rivals Liverpool and Everton now showing interest in the 29-year-old. The report states that Mertens has, in fact, now become one of the most sought after players in Europe as a result of which he has stalled contract talks with Napoli.
The report adds that Napoli already had an “economic agreement” to extend Mertens’ contract, but the player is now asking for a higher salary. Napoli are interested in matching his request, but have not put an official offer on the table.
With less than 18 months left to run on his contract, Napoli would be eager to tie Mertens down to a new deal with the Belgian clearly in the peak of his powers. But, Liverpool will be keeping a close eye on his situation with the Italian club.
Liverpool seem to be in the market for an attacking reinforcement in the summer, with the likes of Demarai Gray and Hakim Ziyech linked with a move to Anfield, but Mertens’ acquisition could represent the biggest deal possible for Jurgen Klopp.
It now remains to be seen whether Mertens extends his stay at San Paolo or if Liverpool make a concrete offer for the Belgium international to take him to Anfield.