Rumours: Chelsea could battle Manchester United for Napoli star this January

(Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

Chelsea could be tempted to join the battle for Napoli striker Dries Mertens this January, as Manchester United are ‘tracking’ the player accoring to the Italian club’s former director Pierpaolo Marino.

Blues boss Antonio Conte is known to have a thing for Serie A players, and it would be no surprise should Chelsea not at least consider a bid for Mertens. The pacey Belgian has been irreplaceable for Napoli this season, helping them to seven consecutive victories in the league and thus to the top of the whole table.

Mertens, aged 30, has already scored nine goals in 11 appearances in all competitions this term. Marino suggests that the player could be available for just €26m, which would be a great price for someone of his calibre.

The €28m clause is likely to be a low price even if he is 30. It turns out that United are following him very closely.
Pierpaolo Marino, Tuttosport (via Football.London)

With the injury of Alvaro Morata causing plenty of head-ache for Conte, the former Juventus boss will surely be sticking his nose into the transfer market to capture a third striker for his side. Michy Batshuayi should be a good back-up for Morata for the time being, but he’s still a very young and inexperienced player.

Mertens could still be very hard to sign in the middle of a potential title-winning campaign. It’s all just speculation at this point, and should be taken with a pinch of salt really.