Napoli forward Dries Mertens could be one of the biggest names available in the transfer market ahead of next summer. The Belgium international is not keen to extend his current Napoli deal, and all signs point towards him being a free agent in a few more months.
There shouldn’t be a shortage of teams looking to sign him. Despite the fact Mertens already past the 30-year-old barrier, he remains more than capable of performing at a high level. Based on recent rumours, his most likely destination would be the English Premier League.
As the Mail reported earlier this week, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United are all keen to engage in a bidding war to sign the 32-year-old. Mertens could have left Napoli last months, but he wants to depart the Partenopei side as the club’s all-time leading scorer. He is just three goals short of breaking Marek Hamsik’s tally.
As things stand now, which Premier League club would suit Mertens best? Let’s find out.
Let’s start with Chelsea. The Blues were keen to sign a striker in the January transfer window and had a £6million bid for the Belgian rejected. However, there’s not much of a fit for him at Stamford Bridge. Christian Pulisic and Tammy Abraham won’t go anywhere. They are close to sign Hakim Ziyech, and they also feature Willian and Michy Batshuayi as forward threats. It would be hard to find playing time for him.
The same goes for Arsenal. With both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexander Lacazette leading the way, plus Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Martinelli on the wings, the 32-year-old would also be destined for a bench role at Arsenal. The Gunners might be cheap next summer, however, so they could get sn edge there. As long as they can afford his wages, of course.
The scenario is slightly different at Manchester United. The Red Devils need a striker to deploy Rashford in a deeper role and Anthony Martial on the left wing. They acquired Odion Ighalo at the deadline, but he will leave the side at the end of the season. Mertens would be a sizable upgrade from other options and could form an interesting trio with Martial and Rashford all changing position. Mertens could even mentor youngster Mason Greenwood.
There’s no question Mertens is good enough to play in the EPL. It remains to be seen which side he will suit up for. But right now, all signs point towards him playing on English soil in 2020-21. That seems to be the best step for his career.