Chelsea have joined the race for unsettled Napoli forward Dries Mertens, according to European reports.
Frank Lampard is eager to add competition for Tammy Abraham up front this month, with current backup strikers Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud both linked with moves away.
Batshuayi is on the radar of the likes of Aston Villa and Crystal Palace, while Roma are said to be interested in taking him away from the Premier League and to Serie A.
Meanwhile, Giroud has been linked with a move to Italy himself, as Inter Milan and Juventus consider pushing to sign him. Premier League sides Newcastle and Villa are also pondering a bid.
According to Le10Sport, Chelsea’s replacement for either of the duo could also come from Serie A, as Mertens has been added to their list of targets.
The Belgian attacker is in the final year of his contract at the Stadio San Paolo, and despite the temptation of being just three goals away from equalling their all-time scoring record, looks set to leave in January, midway through what has been a chaotic season for the Partenopei.
It is claimed that Chelsea have held serious talks over the possibility of bringing Mertens to England, but they face competition from Inter Milan.
Mertens, who mainly operates as a false nine, but can play as a winger, is free to negotiate pre-contract agreements with non-Italian clubs this month. Hence, he could sign for Chelsea at the end of the season, unless the Blues are willing to pay a fee to sign him.
Chelsea may have the edge over Inter for Mertens given comments from Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis, who admitted that he would not let the 32-year-old leave for another Italian club.
The Blues are not the only English side to be linked with Mertens though, as he has long been tipped to be a Manchester United target – links which could increase now that they have missed out on Erling Braut Haaland.
It has also been claimed that Mikel Arteta would like to take him to Arsenal, with the cost of a January transfer believed to be just €10m.