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Napoli sign new striker, but it doesn’t help Chelsea’s Mertens hopes

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So close, yet so far away

SPAL v Hellas Verona - Serie A Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

SSC Napoli confirmed the signing of Andrea Petagna from SPAL a couple hours ago, adding a the 24-year-old striker to the club’s books.

So that should help Chelsea’s last-ditch efforts to prize fellow goal-getter Dries Mertens away from their clutches, right?

Alas, no. That would be the wrong assumption, despite the initially promising headlines.

Petagna was immediately loaned back to SPAL to finish out the season — so just like what Chelsea did with Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund last January. Napoli may yet see Petagna as an eventual Mertens replacement, but the 32-year-old veteran is no closer to leaving before the end of the winter transfer window than he was before.

Chelsea have reportedly launched a second, presumably improved bid in a customarily desperate final day effort to satisfy a manager’s long-standing request for reinforcements, but it doesn’t look like Aurelio Di Laurentiis is willing to do us a favor — which, again, shouldn’t surprise anyone.