Chelsea’s bid to sign a top summer target will reportedly ‘cover the player in gold’ should he accept – but luring him away from his current employers is proving extremely problematic.
The star in question is Dries Mertens, who next month comes to the end of his contract at Napoli and will be available on a free transfer if he does not extend his deal.
The 32-year-old is in high demand as a result, with Newcastle also joining Jurgen Klopp and Frank Lampard in the chase for the Belgian.
However, Italian transfer expert Vincenzo Morabito has suggested that Chelsea may be leading the way for a player who has scored 12 goals and added six assists in 29 games this season.
Morabito claimed that so desperate is Lampard to bring Mertens to Stamford Bridge that he is “calling the player every day” in an effort to convince him to sign on the dotted line.
However, AreaNapoli reports that, despite offering Mertens a deal that will ‘cover the player in gold’, the player is yet to sign on the dotted line and remains torn on a decision, with Inter Milan also offering the Belgian a significant payrise on the current package he is on for the Partenopei.
As per the report, the problem for both Lampard and fellow suitor Antonio Conte is that Mertens and his family are ‘very much settled’ in Naples and would be reluctant to up sticks and leave behind the city that ‘he loves’.
And while it’s reported that the Blues boss isn’t yet ready to throw in the white towel, it’s looking increasingly like a tough task in persuading the player to up sticks and relocate to London.
As such, it’s suggested Mertens is far more likely at this stage to commit to a new contract with Napoli than move elsewhere, despite the offer he has on the table from president Aurelio De Laurentiis being considerably smaller than that from Chelsea – and in news that will ultimately spell transfer disappointment for Lampard.
Meanwhile, Billy Gilmour has admitted he was thrilled to make his Chelsea first-team breakthrough in recent months – and has outlined his hopes for a Scotland call-up as well as detailing a chat he had with Liverpool’s Andy Robertson.
The 18-year-old Glasgow-born midfielder impressed on his Chelsea debut in the FA Cup against Liverpool and took the man-of-the-match award when he made his Premier League bow versus Everton.
Roy Keane was among Gilmour’s many admirers after the display against Everton and he clearly has a very bright future at Chelsea under manager Frank Lampard, who has shown his willingness to give young players a chance at Stamford Bridge.
“I always wanted to go and play in the Premier League to test myself and see what my limit is,” Gilmour told Sky Sports. Read more…