Championship side Newcastle United could make an ambitious bid for Napoli star Dries Mertens this summer, according to the Daily Star.
Newcastle target Mertens, 29, is a key player at Napoli and has scored 24 goals in 35 appearances for the club this season. However, his contract expires in 2018 and the player is reportedly considering his options. Napoli currently sit third in the Serie A table, 10 points behind leaders Juventus.
The winger began his senior career with Gent, being loaned out twice before joining AGOVV in 2006. Mertens scored 31 goals in three seasons with the club and earned a move to Utrecht in 2009. The player’s good form carried on in the Eredivisie and he moved to PSV in a deal with teammate Kevin Strootman for €13 million.
In 2013, after 45 goals in 88 appearances for PSV, Merten’s became Rafa Benitez’s first signing at Napoli for a fee of €9.5 million. The winger was predominantly used as a substitute at the beginning of his time in Italy, but has come to form this season with 24 goals so far.
Premier League sides West Ham United and Crystal Palace are also understood to be interested in Mertens, but his most likely destination at the moment looks to be Manchester United. It is believed that a move to Manchester United could be on the cards, with Mertens having a two-hour meeting with Manchester United representatives last week.
A new contract is on the table from Napoli, but Mertens is stalling on signing it.
Currently top of the Championship table, Newcastle may have to spend big should they get promoted back to the Premier League this season. However, a player of Mertens calibre may prove to be out of their reach, despite his links with current Newcastle boss Benitez.