Napoli forward Dries Mertens has admitted that he held talks with Chelsea among other clubs before signing a new contract with his current side last week.
The Belgian international has thrived this season after stepping into the gaping shoes left by Gonzalo Higuain.
The winger-turned-striker was a formidable outlet in Naples this campaign, scoring 28 goals and racking up nine assists in Serie A.
Understandably, much was questioned about his future with the club, but Mertens himself signed a new contract last week, putting any idea of a switch firmly to bed. However, he has since admitted that there were talks with other clubs before committing his future to Napoli.
”Yes there was interest [from Chelsea], and from other clubs also, but in my head there was never an intention to change clubs.” He told Sky Sports.
“This season was really good. I am going to try and be even better next year.”
Napoli finished this season in third, only one point behind second placed Roma, and Mertens has outlined his enjoyment of life in Serie A.
“Yes there is a buyout clause. But I’m happy at Napoli and I want to stay. I really like Italy. I am good there and they treat me good.”
the buyout clause in his new contract could give Mertens a way out of the club in future, but the 30-year-old has little time on his side, and may well see out the rest of his career in Italy.