Napoli forward Dries Mertens has snubbed a move to Chelsea and instead agreed a new three-year deal with the Serie A side, according to reports.
Chelsea have been heavily linked with a move for the Belgium international for a number of months, following initial interest from Blues boss Frank Lampard in January.
Mertens’ future has been a constant talking point since then, with the 33-year-old well into the final year of his contract and it was unclear whether he would stay in Italy or move elsewhere.
According to reliable journalist Fabrizio Romano – via The Guardian – Mertens has made up his mind and accepted a new deal with Napoli worth £140,000 per week, with a signing-on bonus of £2.2m.
Lampard is said to be a “huge admirer” of the forward and had earmarked him as one of Chelsea‘s “main targets” or the upcoming transfer window.
However, Chelsea were not the only side vying for Mertens’ signature – Inter Milan reportedly offered £170,000 per week for him to move across Italy.
Lampard admitted throughout the January transfer window that he was keen to find support for Tammy Abraham up front, but he looked visibly frustrated on deadline day when no such business had been finalised.
The Blues do have an impending arrival, though, in Ajax’s Hakim Ziyech, whose agreement to move to Stamford Bridge was announced in early February.
The Morocco international was recently named the Dutch club’s Player of the Year for a third season in a row, having registered eight goals and 21 assists so far this term.
In other news, Lampard has said he is keen to finalise short-term contract extensions for Olivier Giroud, Willian and Pedro, who are all set to leave when their current deals run out on June 30.
With the Premier League edging closer to a return that would see the season go into July, top-flight clubs have the option to provide short-term extensions to allow them to finish the campaign.