Fresh interest from Manchester United and Arsenal is causing Chelsea to speed up their negotiations to sign Napoli forward Dries Mertens, according to reports.
Mertens will be a free agent at the end of the season, and despite previous optimism in Naples that he would renew his deal with the Serie A side, the signature is no closer, meaning there is set to be a scramble for his acquisition.
Chelsea have been following Mertens for some time, with Frank Lampard set to freshen up his attack in the summer. Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud may be on their way out at Stamford Bridge, meaning the Blues will need new competition for Tammy Abraham.
However, their efforts to sign Mertens have now become an uphill battle, as Corriere Dello Sport claim that Premier League rivals Arsenal and Manchester United are ready to swoop for the Belgian attacker.
Both United and the Gunners could be in the market for a cost-effective new striker as well, with the former potentially not having the funds for Harry Kane and the latter in danger of losing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Inter Milan are also interested in Mertens, who will be 33 by the time his contract at the Stadio San Paolo expires.
Despite all the competition for the former PSV star, Chelsea are said to be favourites for his signature – with the danger of losing out to a rival forcing them to accelerate with their offer.
The Blues have already been in contact with the player’s lawyers to lay the groundworks over a major contract deal, and now it appears they are another step closer to completing his signing.