After falling out with Napoli chiefs over a contract extension, Belgian winger Dries Mertens is set to leave the Italian club for free at the end of the season. Manchester United are reported to have made contact with the player to discuss a move to the Premier League side next season.
The 32-year-old has been fantastic for Napoli since he joined from PSG in 2013 and has scored 10 goals in all competition this season. But a major rift with the club chairman Aurelio de Laurentiis over a new deal worth €6m per year is said to have made Mertens decide to leave Naples.
Also, the sack former coach Carlo Ancelloti last week by the club chairman over a row with senior members of the squad did not help his (Mertens) case. Now, the forward is in the last six months of his current deal so he can negotiate and sign a pre-agreement with a foreign club next month.
According to TuttoMercatoWeb, United are in competition with Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan to sign Mertens at the end of the season. The news outlet claimed that United have already made contact with Mertens’ representatives to discuss a potential deal that will see him join the Red Devil next season.
Reports from Italy claim that Inter remain the favourites to land Mertens. Antonio Conte is said to be keen to bolster his attacking options and link up Romelu Lukaku with his Belgium team-mate. Also, Mertens is reportedly keen to stay in Italy, where he has scored 88 goals in 219 Serie A games.
In order to sign Mertens, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be heavily backed in the next transfer window as he hunts for attacking reinforcements after Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez left the club. Since their departure in the summer, Utd did not bring in any player as their replacements. And earlier this week Solskjaer admitted that the club is looking to strengthen in many positions in January.