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Chelsea still in the race for Dries Mertens despite Inter Milan formal offer — reports

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Never give up!

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SSC Napoli v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

While Inter Milan are firmly in the driver’s seat, it appears that Chelsea are still in the race for Dries Mertens.

According to Goal, the Napoli forward has still not given Inter any confirmation about their offer, and that is giving the Blues renewed hope that a deal can yet be completed.

Like Lampard, Antonio Conte is also a big fan of the striker and wanted to sign him at Chelsea as well. However, due to the increased demand, Mertens is taking his sweet time in deciding his future destination simply because he can afford to.

Mertens is reportedly seeking playing-time assurances and at least a two-year-contract. Even if that contract-length demand is unlikely to be too much of a hassle for Chelsea these days (and we could probably offer higher wages, too), the other demand could prove to be a deal-breaker. Meanwhile, according to HLN, Inter are willing to pair Mertens with his compatriot Romelu Lukaku up front regularly.

Combined with his ambitions to win the Scudetto — as per Corriere dello Sport (via Sempre Inter) — and his familiarity and comfort with the Serie A, Mertens would likely prefer Antonio Conte’s project rather than Frank Lampard’s.

And of course, Mertens’ current club, Napoli, are still in the picture, too, and are hoping that he stays in Naples. According to Gianluca Di Marzio, the ball’s now in Aurelio De Laurentiis’ court regarding the player’s demands.

With three clubs clamoring for his signature, Mertens is in a strong position to decide his future. He’s surely in no rush, and so we wait.