Napoli forward Dries Mertens plays down Manchester United speculation

by Leo Nieboer

Napoli forward and Manchester United Dries Mertens has played down the prospect of leaving Serie A over the summer.

The Belgian forward, an instrumental influence in front of goal for Napoli ever since Gonzalo Higuain’s departure, has previously entertained the idea of moving to the Premier League.

Former sporting director Pierpaolo Marino recently confirmed that Man United had indeed expressed interest in bringing the 30-year-old to Old Trafford, noting that his release clause for clubs outside of Italy stood at just€28m.

But Mertens, when asked about the prospect of a move away, revealed he had received offers last year but was currently happy in Naples.

“Offers from China? Last year it happened,” he said. “Nobody called me this year. The temptation has been there in the past and it is only human nature to consider these things.”

“But I wanted to continue here. I still want to stay here, because I am playing and enjoying myself on the pitch too. I’m happy. I feel like a child in a toy store who can have anything he wants. Is my release clause too low? I don’t know, that’s not for me to say.”

Please ignore that second link I’ve inserted, because I definitely didn’t predict Napoli – knocked out at the group stages of this year’s Champions League – to be the AS Monaco of this season.

Nevertheless, this is a situation worth monitoring closely ahead of the summer. Bolstering the midfield and full-back areas should still be the main priority, but with Zlatan Ibrahimovic seemingly destined for the exit door the club should at least explore the possibility of activating his astoundingly low release clause once the window opens.

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