While Chelsea have been reportedly making inroads in trying to sign Dries Mertens, the interest is not solitary and other clubs have been making their own moves to acquire the veteran forward on a free transfer. One club long-credited with interest have been Inter Milan, and according to reports, they have been making some noteworthy progress.
As per Sport Mediaset (via Sempre Inter), Inter have offered a two-year contract with an annual salary of €5 million plus a large signing-on bonus to the 33 year-old. This surpasses Napoli’s offer and with Inter trying to get him as a replacement for Barcelona-bound Lautaro Martinez, Mertens is bound to get plenty of game-time as well. (Inter’s primary target is Timo Werner, but he’s most likely still bound for Liverpool.)
Corriere dello Sport (via Sempre Inter) also paint a similar picture of the situation, even claiming that “Inter are just a step away from completing the signing”. Inter apparently already have an agreement in place, at €4.5 million a year — which is lower than the previous reports’ claims, but that’s just a trivial detail.
Meanwhile, Sky Sport Italia (via Football Italia) claim that Mertens wants to stay in Italy and is even willing to play for another Italian club, which again puts Inter in the driver’s seat. It would appear that Mertens is enticed by the prospect of playing alongside Romelu Lukaku and under Antonio Conte (ed.note: and who can blame him).
While Napoli are still hoping that Mertens commits to a new deal at the club, not even the prospect of a new two-year contract with a signing-on bonus and a salary worth €10m per season seems enough to outweigh the prospect of a new challenge and one without the wounds of the infamous fine-gate still lingering.
From Chelsea’s perspective, it appears that Frank Lampard has taken a strong liking to the player. With the world of football dealing with the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, it could be wise on Chelsea’s part to make a concerted effort and try to sign Mertens on a free so that there is more money available from our limited transfer funds for other signings.
Until Mertens signs on the dotted line somewhere, we still have a chance, should we choose to pursue.