Inter enter race to sign in-demand Napoli forward
Reports claim Inter Milan have entered the race to snap up Napoli forward Dries Mertens, who will be out of contract in the summer.
Mertens was heavily linked with a £6million January move to Chelsea but he remained in Naples when the transfer window shut.
Several clubs were reportedly keen but it appears the prospect of signing Mertens on a free in the summer, when his current deal expires, trumped a desire to do business last month.
That call could potentially backfire for Chelsea, however, with Inter Milan now ready to offer Mertens the chance to stay in Serie A.
The 32-year-old has spent his prime years in the Italian top flight with Napoli after joining from PSV for a reported €9.4million in the summer of 2013.
He has been a regular for the Partenopei over the past six-and-a-half years but seems set on taking up a new challenge at the end of the season.
Napoli were initially hoping to tie the forward down to fresh terms but reports suggest the two parties have been unable to agree on terms.
Inter have been busy assembling a squad capable of breaking Juventus’ monopoly on the Scudetto since Antonio Conte’s arrival last summer.
The likes of Christian Eriksen, Romelu Lukaku, Diego Godin, Alexis Sanchez and Victor Moses have been drafted in and they currently sit second, three points shy of Juve.
Conte wants to put the pressure on over the next few years and feels Mertens’ experience could further boost their chances.
Overseas clubs are free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with Mertens but Inter will need to wait until the summer to make contact with his representatives.