With no football going on at the moment (not for a couple of more days at least), footballers have all the time in the world to ponder over their future. This is especially true in case of free agents to be, since the changing market dynamics have made them extra hot commodities in the upcoming market.
This appears to be the case in Dries Mertens’ situation as well, with Corriere dello Sport (via Sport Witness) reporting that the Napoli striker has not yet decided whom he wants to play for next season. Not yet anyways.
While Mertens would love to continue his career at Napoli, where he has found both success and adulation aplenty, the delay over the terms of a new deal are beginning to factor in his decision-making.
If not in Naples, Mertens would apparently love to come to the blue side of London, not just for the financials involved, but also because of the exciting new challenge and playing under the tutelage of Super Frank himself. While playing for Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan is also enticing, the 33-year-old doesn’t want to betray the Neapolitan faithful by playing for a domestic rival, and so, the Nerazzurri are his third-choice at this point.
On the other hand, Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis is apparently fuming that he might not be able to get money for one of his players for a change (it is rare, in fairness), and apparently has issued an ultimatum to the forward. He’s offered €4m/year, and according to Il Mattino (via Sempre Inter), has told Mertens to “take it or leave it”. Bold strategy, Aurelio.
While the Mertens-to-Chelsea rumor hasn’t become a saga yet, it’s starting to become awfully boring now, and it would be great if everyone got some closure at this point. (Ed.note: yeah, that won’t happen for a couple more months at least.)
Oh, by the way, Happy Birthday, Dries!