Chelsea have reportedly shifted their focus back to Dries Mertens, who will become a free agent this summer if he refuses to extend his Napoli contract.

According to a report by The Sun, Chelsea have made contact with Dries Mertens, whose contract with Napoli expires this June. The Blues are believed to be in the market for an attacking reinforcement ahead of the summer transfer window.

Chelsea tried to land the Belgian in January, to plug holes in their frontline. However, the move was rejected by Napoli, and the Blues ended up signing no one in the winter.

Since signing with the Naples-based club in 2013, Mertens has been absolutely integral to the team, and is the Partenopei‘s all-time top scorer, level with former captain Marek Hamsik. He has achieved this feat in nearly 200 fewer appearances than the Slovakian.

The 32-year-old hasn’t been faring well this season, however, and has had to contest for his position with the likes of Hirving Lozano and Arkadiusz Milik. Mertens has 6 goals and 4 assists in 21 appearances this term. However, he still remains a popular figure in the transfer market, with Chelsea keen on signing him.

Time to stand up and deliver. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

Is it Ciao time for Mertens? (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

The Napoli ace will be one of the most sought after free agents in the coming transfer window, because he has shown little signs of slowing down despite his age. Chelsea will face attacking woes this summer as Willian is almost definitely going to move as a free agent, with local rivals Arsenal ready to secure his services.

Pedro, too, is on his way out of Chelsea in search for more playing time while he can. Oliver Giroud is the third attacker Chelsea may lose on a free transfer, with Inter Milan eyeing a move for the Frenchman; and. it is hard to expect Michy Batshuayi to stay for another term.

Mertens can play anywhere across the frontline, including attacking midfield, and is potentially the perfect short-term solution for Frank Lampard. Chelsea could lose three players for free and there is no better way to stabilise the finances of the club by bringing in a free agent.

Mertens’ attacking portfolio should make him a popular player for several clubs, who might be looking for a temporary change before a overhaul. What now remains to be seen is if Chelsea can finally manage to secure the services of the veteran forward.

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