Dries Mertens has signed a contract extension at Napoli, putting an end to speculation linking him with a move away from the club.
Mertens arrived in Naples back in 2013 and became the Azzurri’s leading goalscorer recently when he netted his 122nd goal against Inter in the Coppa Italia semi final.
He seemed set to depart Stadio San Paolo in the summer on a free transfer with the likes of Newcastle and Chelsea linked with a move. However, this speculation was put to bed with Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis announcing he had signed an extension via his Twitter account.
Mertens is understood to have been ‘quite convinced’ by the prospect of moving to Stamford Bridge but has performed a U-turn, signing what is thought to be a three-year deal.
It is unlikely that the 33-year-old would have received a similar length deal with the Blues, as evidenced by their dispute with 31-year-old Willian over his new contract. Frank Lampard is also already well equipped in the forward department with Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic set to be joined by new recruits Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech next campaign.
Mertens will now turn his attentions to the imminent return of Serie A. Gennaro Gattuso’s side restart their campaign with a trip to Hellas Verona and have plenty of ground to make up if they want to qualify for Europe.
Napoli currently sit in sixth place, nine points drift of surprise package Atalanta in fourth who also have a game in hand.
At the top of the table, fans are set to be treated to one of the most dramatic climaxes to a Serie A season for several years. Leaders Juventus currently boast just a one point advantage over Lazio, who have already beaten the Old lady twice this season.