Le10 Sport has reported that Chelsea have started discussions with Napoli striker Dries Mertens, whose current contract expires in the summer.
The Belgian has been prolific during his time at the Italian side but could seek a new challenge in the summer. He is one of many strikers linked with the Blues this month, but here is why Chelsea should avoid signing him.
Mertens’s age is a big factor. He is currently 32-years-old and will become less effective in the coming years. This is especially concerning because of the Belgian’s style of play. He relies heavily on his pace and work-rate, which becomes harder to utilise as a player gets older.
However, it is worth noting that Jamie Vardy, the Premier League’s top goalscorer, is the same age as Mertens. It would be fair to assume that he is the exception to the rule though, and the Leicester man has vast experience in England.
That brings us onto the second concern. Mertens has only ever played in the Netherlands and Italy. He may not be suited to the Premier League and due to his slight build, could struggle with the physical nature of the English game.
The experienced forward is just five feet and five inches. He is a very different player to Chelsea’s current first-choice striker. This could make it difficult to incorporate both players effectively throughout the season. Lampard would have to make his team hugely change their style depending on who was playing in the number nine role.
Abraham poses a greater threat in the air, whereas Mertens relies on getting behind defences and running off the last man. His wages could also be a sticking point. His 118 goals in 304 games for Napoli make him well within his rights to ask for a sizeable wage and that is something Chelsea may not want to offer.