Arsenal are reportedly looking to complete a cut-price January move for Napoli’s clinical forward Dries Mertens, who could be available for £8.5 million.
According to Italian outlet Il Mattino, as carried forward by ZRAFC, Dries Mertens is the subject of interest from Arsenal. The Belgian forward, who could be available for £8.5 million in the January transfer window, is also being tailed by Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
Mertens has transformed his career since joining Napoli from PSV Eindhoven in the summer of 2013. Over the last five-and-a-half years, the Belgian international has become one of the most prolific forwards in Europe, having initially been converted into a striker by Maurizio Sarri.
In 304 appearances for the Partenopei, the 32-year-old has a fantastic record of 118 goals and 71 assists. In fact, such has been Mertens’s impact at the club that only former captain Marek Hamsik is ahead of him in Napoli’s all-time top scorers’ charts. However, the current campaign has been dominated by talks of the player being unsettled, which seem to have piqued the interest of Arsenal.
The Gunners have begun a new era after appointing Mikel Arteta as the new head coach last week. However, the interest in Mertens still comes as a bit of a surprise, as attack is one area where the new Arsenal manager will have plenty of resources.
Alexandre Lacazette, Gabriel Martinelli and Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are options to spearhead the attack, while the likes of Martinelli, Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka and Reiss Nelson are can all be deployed on either flank.
Having said that, there are suggestions emerging that Lacazette is unsettled after falling down the pecking order in recent weeks. If this was to be the case, there could be a place for Mertens to be a short-term solution for Arsenal, who have also been linked with Kevin Volland lately.
That Mertens has a release clause worth £8.5 million only adds to his appeal for a club like Arsenal, who have known to largely be frugal with their spending. The Gunners, though, will face stiff competition from Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in the race to sign the prolific forward, as per Il Mattino.
Meanwhile, Napoli are reportedly locked in negotiations with the player over a new deal, although he has rejected their first offer. Amid all this, it remains to be seen if Arsenal can prevail in pursuit of Mertens, provided they indeed hold a serious interest in him.