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Chelsea ‘direct contacts’ for Dries Mertens — reports

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Never-ending links!

SSC Napoli Training Session Photo by SSC NAPOLI/SSC NAPOLI via Getty Images

Despite Chelsea reportedly agreeing a one-year extension with Olivier Giroud, the veteran striker’s future is hardly certain, with the move (if true) largely seen as Chelsea ensuring that we don’t lose him for free in the summer.

In the meantime, Chelsea continue to be linked with other older strikers, like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Dries Mertens to fill the experience-void at the club and provide competition for young Tammy Abraham.

Mertens is a long saga already at this point, but according to the same source that made the Giroud claim, Gianluca Di Marzio, talks have started with Frank Lampard leading the way in “direct contacts”. (Ed.note: Chelsea head coaches hardly lead the way on transfers these days, especially for a random striker at some far away club without any prior connections, but let’s roll with the Oracle.)

Mertens is set to be a free agent this summer as well, with his contract extension negotiations reportedly at a standstill with Napoli, and that could make him an attractive target for any team looking for some experience.

Chelsea, if interested, are hardly alone in that regard, with AS Roma in the picture as well, according to Corriere dello Sport. Roma already have Edin Džeko, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced every club to think more frugally (except maybe Newcastle United!), and Roma apparently believe that selling Džeko and getting Mertens could save them around €10m — although they would have to overcome Chelsea’s ability to offer higher wages to Napoli’s joint all-time top goalscorer.