Chelsea look set to miss out on the signing of Dries Mertens after discovering that he would rather stay in Italy than make the move to the Premier League.
The Napoli star is out of contract with the Serie A club at the end of the current season and it had been suggested the Blues were considering making a move as they look to add experience to his youthful squad.
In fact, it was reported last week that the London club have made Mertens their number one target ahead of next season, while Frank Lampard has been making regular contact with the Belgian in an attempt to convince him to move to Stamford Bridge.
However, those plans may now have to be scrapped after the 34-year-old made it clear he would prefer to stay in Italy and secure a switch to Inter Milan instead, according to a report on Sky Sports Italia, cited in the Daily Mail.
A transfer to the San Siro would see him link up with former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, who took charge of ‘I Nerazzurri’ at the start of the current campaign and led them to third in the table before play was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Conte may be in need of reinforcements ahead of the 2020/21 campaign too, with Lautaro Martinez linked with a move away and Alexis Sanchez’s loan move from Manchester United unlikely to be made permanent after the Chilean endured yet another disappointing season.
Therefore, Romelu Lukaku could be left as Inter’s only senior option for the centre forward position, and Mertens would be a more than capable partner to his international teammate.
Chelsea, meanwhile, may have to look towards other targets if they hope to bring in competition to Tammy Abraham who, despite a fast start to the year, notched just three Premier League goals between November and March.
Lille forward Victor Osimhen is one name who is said to be on Lampard’s shortlist, although he may cost as much £75million which could be a stumbling block.
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