Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly set to go head-to-head to sign Dries Mertens from Napoli in the summer.
Belgian outlet DH have reported that Manchester United and Tottenham are showing interest in signing Dries Mertens from Napoli, and are all set to wage a transfer battle to land the Belgian forward in the summer transfer window.
Mertens has been a revelation for Napoli this season. Having been deployed in an unfamiliar role as the focal point of the side’s attack by Maurizio Sarri during the absence of first-choice Arkadisuz Milik for large parts of the season, the 29-year-old has enjoyed the most fruitful season of his career.
Numbers also paint a picture as to how good Mertens has been this season, with the Belgian forward finding the back of the net 27 times in addition to providing 12 assists in 40 appearances across all competitions.
Dries Mertens equals the best ever goalscoring season of his career.
27 goals for PSV in 2011/12 🔴⚪️
27 goals for Napoli in 2016/17 🔵⚪️ pic.twitter.com/H03jJZTLKC
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 15, 2017
He is also in the running to become the top scorer in Serie A, competing with stalwarts such as Andrea Belotti, Edin Dzeko, Mauro Icardi and Gonzalo Higuain to become the Capocannoniere this season. Mertens even boasts the best scoring rate in the Italian top flight, scoring a goal every 98 minutes.
Suffice to say, Mertens has been a vital cog in Napoli’s bid to qualify for Europe. But his superlative performances for the Partenopei have also put a target on his back. Liverpool were heavily linked with Mertens recently before their supposed interest fizzled out.
Now though, two new suitors have emerged to acquire the services of Mertens in the summer, with Manchester United and Tottenham eager to land the Belgian. The two clubs are now look set to launch the offensive for the 29-year-old when the transfer window reopens in June.
Manchester United have seen Zlatan Ibrahimovic become a talisman for them with his 28-goal haul being a key difference maker in their campaign so far. However, beyond the Swedish striker, Jose Mourinho has often struggled to find a consistent goalscorer.
Based on evidence from this season, Mertens can bring a lot of goals to Old Trafford, and can be a solution on the right wing or up front as a centre forward. Meanwhile, Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino isn’t really facing a problem of a dearth of goals from his side.
However, it is important to note that there is a need for the Argentine to bolster his attack, as there is little to choose beyond the current front quartet of Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-Min, with the likes of Erik Lamela, Moussa Sissoko and Vincent Janssen blowing hot and cold.
Mertens can certainly provide a solution in that respect and bring a sense of competition to the North London club that can potentially improve the returns for them. However, Napoli are, understandably, unwilling to let go of Mertens just yet.
Mertens and Napoli have also been involved in negotiations over a renewal for several weeks now, with the release clause proving to be the big bone of contention. Napoli want a significant release clause, while the Belgian is insisting on a smaller amount.
If an amount is agreed on, Mertens expects a top club to meet it in the summer, making an end of season exit from San Paolo highly likely. It now remains to be seen if the two parties agree terms on a renewal, and if Manchester United and Tottenham take forward their interest in Mertens with a concrete offer.