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Mertens was ‘quite convinced’ by Chelsea, but chose to assure his Napoli legend instead

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Record-breaker

SSC Napoli v FC Internazionale - Coppa Italia: Semi-Final Second Leg Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Six months ago, Dries Mertens almost joined Chelsea. He was “quite convinced” and that wasn’t just a rumor-mill special; it appears to have been a very real possibility. This was again confirmed recently by Kristof Terreur in an interview with the BBC.

At the time, Chelsea were looking to replace Olivier Giroud, who wanted out. Mertens, 33, was also on an expiring contract, and was also not too happy with his situation. But one thing eventually outweighed all other concerns for Mertens: he wanted to become Napoli’s all-time leading goalscorer. As it turns out, not even a pandemic could stop him in that quest.

This weekend, Mertens scored his 122nd goal for Napoli, passing the wonderful Marek Hamšík for first place on the all-time Partenopei list. (Diego Maradona is third with 115.) The goal helped assure Napoli’s spot in the Coppa Italia final, where they will meet former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri’s Juventus. Juicy!

Meanwhile, Mertens has managed to work himself a new three-year deal from Napoli as well, though it remains unsigned officially. Surely, only a matter of time before that’s all sorted.

Congrats, Dries! We’ll always our January hypotheticals.