The new manager in-waiting Maurizio Sarri appears to be intent on the Blues going in for Napoli and Belgium striker Dries Mertens, despite the player being the wrong side of 30 – according to the Mirror.

Interestingly Chelsea’s Antonio Conte has been denied the chance to sign the Belgium international on a couple of occasions by the club, having deemed the minimum fee release clause of £24.5 million too much for a player who is now 31-years old. The Mirror state that the release clause has now expired, so should Mertens continue to score at this summer’s World Cup his price-tag could indeed be even higher.

Dries Mertens scored the opener in Belgium’s win against Panama, and the goal took plenty of plaudits for the skill and audacity of the strike and if the striker could bring that kind of form to Stamford Bridge then fans are likely to take quickly to the Napoli man.

The report suggests that Maurizio Sarri is looking to give Mertens the same role in Chelsea’s team next season for what he currently plays for Belgium – just on the right of a front three. If that is the case then it will be interesting to see who Mertens would replace in the Blues starting eleven.

Dries Mertens had an exceptional season for Napoli in 2017/18, scoring 22 and assisting a further 12 goals in 49 appearances for the Serie A club. Napoli’s excellent form pushed Juventus to the final couple of weeks of the season, but ultimately the Naples-based team finished second and will next season be led by former Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti.

With England back in-action on Sunday in the World Cup, featuring Chelsea’s very own Gary Cahill check out our full England vs Panama live stream and team news run-down ahead of kick-off.

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