In the final days and hours of the January transfer window, Chelsea were heavily linked with Napoli striker Dries Mertens.
Like Olivier Giroud, the man he was supposedly going to replace, Mertens’ contract was expiring and it didn’t sound like he was going to be able to work out a new extension with his employers. But unlike Giroud, Mertens wanted to stay with his team, hoping to become their all-time leading goalscorer. He was just a few behind Marek Hamšík, who had broken Diego Maradona’s record a couple years prior.
Mertens is still waiting to do so. He managed to draw level with Hamšík on 121, but then he got injured and then the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. Those factors had also helped shift the narrative towards a potential extension with the Partenopei.
Now, the narrative is shifting again, and so Chelsea are back in the picture again, certainly as far as the rumor mill’s concerned.
Gazzetta dello Sport (via Sport Witness) report that Mertens’ representatives are “evaluating various possibilities” after getting their signals crossed with the team over certain financial details. While that sounds like a whole lot of agent talk more than anything, at the end of the day, what it does mean is that Mertens’ future is not settled. Yet.
But, Giroud’s situation at Chelsea has also been shifting, and he could be signing an extension after all. We certainly don’t need two over-30 backup strikers, so it could be too little too late for any designs Mertens may (or may not) have on the SW6.