Real Madrid have reportedly set their sights on Dries Mertens, and are aiming to sign the Napoli forward next summer.

According to a report by Spanish publication Don Balon, Dries Mertens is the subject of interest from Real Madrid, who are weighing up a move for him next summer. However, Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis is reluctant to part ways with his prized asset.

Mertens has seen his stock skyrocket after enjoying stupendous success in the 2016-17 season, which was by far the most productive campaign of his senior career. In 46 appearances across all competitions, the player bagged 34 goals and 15 assists, finishing second in the race to become the Capocannoniere in Serie A behind Edin Dzeko.

Mertens has started the 2017-18 season on a strong note as well, with nine goals and five assists in just 11 appearances thus far – a direct contribution every 60 minutes. Having become such a prolific forward in the last two seasons, the player has become a popular figure in the transfer market.

The likes of Manchester United and Chelsea were interested in signing the 30-year-old this past summer before he chose to renew his contract with Napoli. Another club though, is set to test Napoli’s resolve next summer, with Mertens falling on the radar of Real Madrid.

Zinedine Zidane has indicated on a number of occasions that he is short of an attacking player since the departure of Alvaro Morata, which can be felt from Los Blancos’ struggles in front of goal at the early juncture of the season.

Furthermore, Karim Benzema’s slump in form, coupled with Gareth Bale’s constant injury woes have only ended up increasing Zidane’s troubles. Therefore, Mertens has emerged as a viable target for Real Madrid, with the Belgium international going through a purple patch.

However, the Spanish and European champions face a huge stumbling block in their pursuit of Mertens with Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis unwilling to facilitate the departure of the player under any condition.

It now remains to be seen if Mertens forces his club president’s hand by pushing through a move to the Bernabeu, or if Real Madrid are able to change de Laurentiis’ stance by making a big-money offer for the player.