Napoli unwilling to meet Mertens’ wage demands


Napoli could be set to lose star attacker Dries Mertens with the two parties still unable to agree a new deal.

The Partenopei have struggled this season to replicate the form which saw them finish second behind Juventus in Serie A last term.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men currently lie seventh in the table after 12 games and are on 19 points, five off the top four spots.

Perhaps more tellingly, they are already 13 points away from Juventus at the top of the table, while they are 12 behind Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan in second.

There has been a widely publicised stand-off between members of the playing staff and club president Aurelio De Laurentiis, who has repeatedly threatened to sell players and start again after they threatened to go on strike.

Last week, two players linked with the exit door were Piotr Zielinski and club captain Lorenzo Insigne, with Liverpool supposedly keen on both.

Now Mertens is also being linked with a high-profile exit from the Stadio San Paolo after contract negotiations stalled.

The Belgium international has been a long-serving, integral part of the squad in Naples, having joined from PSV Eindhoven in 2013.

However, his wage demands of 6million euros per year have been brandished as excessive and the two parties cannot find an agreement.

Napoli are unwilling to part with that sort of money for the 32-year-old who is approaching the latter part of his career.

His contract expires at the end of the season and he has been linked with a move to Inter Milan for next season and if no agreement is reached then Mertens would be able to enter talks over a free transfer as early as January.