Manchester United and Chelsea target Dries Mertens has signed a new deal with Napoli until 2020, the club have announced.
According to a report in The Sun, Dries Mertens has put pen to paper on a new deal at Napoli, as per the club’s president Aurelio De Laurentiis. Manchester United and Chelsea have been linked with a summer move for the Belgian forward.
In an interview with Radio Kiss Kiss, De Laurentiis said that Napoli had come to an agreement with Mertens over a new deal while also confirming that the new contract also contains a release clause.
“Last night I had a meeting with Giuntoli, Chiavelli and Mertens’ entourage,” De Laurentiis said. “Mertens signed the contract with the clause that he wanted. If he leaves it will be for China or elsewhere, but only abroad. After Higuain, Napoli fans can rest assured that Mertens will only play for Napoli in Italy.”
Mertens has enjoyed a stupendous campaign with Napoli in 2016/17. Having been deployed in an unfamiliar role as the central striker by Maurizio Sarri this season, the Belgium international has been nothing short of a revelation, the end product of which has seen him enjoy the most productive campaign of his senior career.
— Official SSC Napoli (@en_sscnapoli) May 27, 2017
Mertens has a remarkable tally of 33 goals and 15 assists in 45 appearances across all competitions this season. 27 of those goals have come in the Serie A – a return that places him just one behind Edin Dzeko in the race to become the Capocannoniere this season.
Surely enough, the player has earned plaudits for enjoying such a stellar campaign, and some of the biggest clubs in Europe have registered an interest in signing him. Manchester United and Chelsea are two clubs that are believed to be leading the race to sign Mertens in the summer.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic grabbed the bulk of the goals for Manchester United this season, with the Red Devils often finding it hard to convert the chances coming their way in his absence. Hence, as per various reports, Mertens is being eyed as a player who can add a lot of value to Jose Mourinho’s side with his deadly eye for goal.
Meanwhile, Antonio Conte is eager to bring in reinforcements in attack this summer to continue his side’s upper trajectory following a successful Premier League winning campaign. Mertens is, thus, reportedly being targeted as a player who can bolster the Chelsea boss’ attacking options next season.
Juventus have also been linked with Mertens but with De Laurentiis claiming that the release clause is only valid for clubs outside Italy, meaning the Belgian attacker will not be able to make a switch within Italy unlike Gonzalo Higuain’s infamous move to Juventus last summer.
Therefore, Manchester United and Chelsea seem to be the likelier of the destinations for the 30-year-old, and it remains to be seen if he indeed moves to either Premier League side in the summer.