Liverpool have been dealt a huge blow in their chase for Dries Mertens with the forward set to pen a new deal with Napoli

Italian newspaper Il Matino have reported that Dries Mertens is close to signing a new deal with Napoli and extend his stay with the Serie A club till 2021. This is set to deal a huge blow to Liverpool and Everton’s aspirations of signing the Belgium international in the summer.

Dries Mertens has set the stage on fire for Napoli this season, emerging as a surprise candidate for becoming the Capocannoniere in Serie A come May. The 29-year-old Belgian is enjoying the best season of his senior career so far, and certainly the most productive one.

That is because Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri has chosen to deploy Mertens as the sole striker, with first choice Arkadisuz Milik absent due to injury. His numbers are impressive to say the least, with him finding the back of the net 16 times while providing 7 assists in the Serie A this season.

Dries Mertens has been prolific for Napoli this season. (Photo courtesy - Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

Dries Mertens has been prolific for Napoli this season. (Photo courtesy – Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

Currently fourth in the Serie A top scorers’ list, Mertens boasts the best scoring rate of all the players in the league, with a goal coming every 96 minutes. Suffice to say, Mertens is crucial to Napoli’s chances this season as they compete on different fronts for the remainder of the season.

His superlative performances saw clubs sit up and take notice of his talents, and Liverpool and Everton were the first two clubs to register an interest in him, after it emerged that Mertens had stalled contract negotiations with Napoli.

Jurgen Klopp is looking to add to his options all over the park with European football for next season looking likelier by the week, while Ronald Koeman wants to add top class attackers to make his regular contenders for Europe.

However, it has now emerged that he could soon be renewing his contract with the Serie A heavyweights. The reports states that Mertens will sign a four-year deal worth €2.5 million-a-year (including bonuses), which will increase to €3 million by the time the contract expires in 2021.

The report further adds that Mertens will put pen to paper on the new deal once Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis returns from Los Angeles in early March, which would push it back till the second leg of the club’s Champions League tie against Real Madrid.

For now though, Liverpool and Everton have been dealt a blow in pursuit of Mertens, and the two clubs may have to move on to new targets in the summer.

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