The Belgian has signed a new contract amidst the rumours of a summer exit.
Napoli forward Dries Mertens has reportedly signed a new contract extension, which will keep him at the club for three more years. The 33-year-old turned out to be one of the hottest free agents, gaining interest from top clubs. Chelsea and Inter Milan appeared as the potential suitors for the Belgian, whose original contract was due to expire this summer. However, Mertens has thrown cold water to the interested clubs by vowing his future to the Partenopei.
The announcement comes right after Mertens achieved the feet of Napoli’s top goalscorer, surpassing the previous record-holder Marek Hamsik. The former PSV star was able to do so in the Copa Italia semi-final against AC Milan. Napoli would win the cup final, defeating Juventus on penalties.
Mertens had his say after extending his contract with the Partenopei: (h/t Metro)
Napoli, I still can’t believe it. From the first day I arrived, you embraced me. ‘You taught me so many wonderful things and introduced me to so many beautiful people. You were “home” for me and my family straight away.
People who aren’t in love with Napoli have simply never seen it as I have. And the people who are in love know this love is eternal. ‘I’ll give you my all until the very last day, to stay in the history of this club and city as the all-time top scorer.
It shows his fetish towards the club and no wonder if he would end up as one of the Partenopei’s revered players.
Mertens joined the Naples from Eredivisie in 2013 and went to make more than 300 appearances for the club, racking up some impressive yet underlooked numbers. While he was pivotal in Napoli’s impressive run in Serie A last term – bagging up a tally of 16 goals and 10 assists – Mertens has also stayed relevant this season with 13 goals and 6 assists across all competitions despite spending some time in the sidelines due to adductor problems.
Whether it’s Maurizio Sarri, Carlo Ancelotti or Gennaro Gattuso, Mertens has always proved himself to be a difference-maker for the Partenopei no matter what the altering systems are.
Known for his versatility to play anywhere along the frontline, Mertens is known for his flamboyance, astute decision-making skills, playmaking prowess thus making him a complete forward.
The 90-capped Belgian star is ageing like a fine wine and could help Gattusso’s side achieve an impossible task – to stop Barcelona from advancing into the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Serie A is set for a restart later this week and Napoli would push for the top-four race; Mertens has to play a key role in it.