Arsenal are reportedly exploring the prospect of landing Napoli forward Dries Mertens, whose contract with the Serie A club is set to end in the summer.
The Sun, who have credited reputed Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, report of Arsenal’s interest in Dries Mertens. The Napoli forward is running down his contract, with his deal at the Serie A club set to expire in the coming summer. Arsenal are looking to land the Belgian forward on a free transfer.
The report states that Mertens is an Arsenal target due to the fact that there is an air of uncertainty surrounding Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future at the club. Add to it the fact that Alexandre Lacazette is linked with a move to Atletico Madrid and the need for attacking reinforcements in the summer is evident.
Arsenal have made initial contact with the entourage of Dries Mertens. [@DiMarzio]
— Z (@ZRAFC) January 14, 2020
Dries Mertens is one of the many inverted wingers who ended up finding a lot more success when played through the middle and as a number 9. Mertens joined Napoli in 2013 and while he was straight away influential and among the goals, it was the 2016-17 season that saw him evolve from a winger with output to the leading finisher for the Serie A giants, with 28 goals in the league.
The 2019-20 season has been a bit of a dampener for Mertens, who has only scored 4 times in Serie A. But, what he has lacked in the domestic league, he has more than made up for it in the Champions League, with 5 goals in the Group Stage itself. His numbers make him a desirable for every top club, including Arsenal.
While Mertens has been loyal to Napoli, Carlo Ancelotti’s departure has raised questions over many-a players’ futures, with Kalidou Koulibaly also among the list of potential exits looming over the club. As far as Mertens is concerned, the 32-year-old is yet to win a league title in his footballing career and would love to get one final BIG move.
His contract ends in the summer and that makes him an ideal Arsenal target. The Gunners are financially not as able as their Premier League counterparts and will undergo an overhaul of sorts under Mikel Arteta. The former Manchester City assistant manager is set to focus on defensive reinforcements and would love to improve other areas without spending much on them.
Enter Mertens; with his glorious numbers over the past 3 years and his skillset, which seems a blend of Aubameyang’s slick and silky movement and Lacazette’s sturdy and strong presence along with the finishing ability to match the two.
Arsenal will be able to award Mertens a healthy contract, allowing him one final BIG deal while also spending nothing on transfer fees. This move makes a lot of sense; both for Mertens and Arsenal. It will be interesting to see how other factors play out and whether we do see the Belgian in an Arsenal shirt in the 2020-21 season.