According to La Gazzetta dello Sport (via Sport Witness), Dries Mertens’ refusal to sign a new contract with Napoli is partially rooted in the fines levied on the team after a “mutiny” that took place on November 5, following a Champions League group stage encounter with RB Salzburg.
Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis fined each uninjured player 25 per cent of their monthly salary (totaling €2.5m in fines) after they refused to go to a week-long retreat as ordered by the owner (against the recommendations of then still head coach, Carlo Ancelotti) following a series of poor performances.
In fact, the report claims that this incident the “real obstacle” in the negotiations, rather than the financial terms, as they themselves previously reported.
Mertens is in the final few months of his contract, which means he can negotiate a free transfer to any team. Napoli are hoping to tie him down to a two-year extension.
If Mertens fails to sign the new contract, he could be in for heavy interest from the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United, at least as far as the rumor mill’s concerned.