Some reports in Italy are claiming that Maurizio Sarri is very keen on bringing former player Dries Mertens to Chelsea in January. The boss has apparently had private discussions himself with the 31-year-old.
This transfer might seem like a bad idea on first sight. Mertens does not have that many years left as a top level player yet he would cost a fair amount. Some would also argue that his signing would take minutes of playing time away from the far younger and supremely talented Callum Hudson-Odoi.
However, if we think about it, Mertens would be a sensible signing. Granted, he is getting on in age but that does not matter because he would never be anything more than a stop-gap signing for about two years. The Blues need a player of genuine quality who is able to play in the centre-forward position. They really are starved in that crucial position. Alvaro Morata is not up to standard at all while Olivier Giroud is useful at certain times but his lack of pace makes him a less than ideal first choice.
Mertens can play all across the front three but he would be especially useful in that central position. He is perfect for Sarri’s preferred system of playing three fast, technical forwards. He would primarily occupy that nine position while filling in on the wings when needed.
He would only be playing this major role for about two years which suits Chelsea’s interests perfectly. They can use that time to blood promising strikers already on their books, such as Tammy Abraham or they can wait to sign a long term, younger target who would be the main man for many years. Right now, there is no standout option of that sort out there who is attainable. For now, Mertens would be the ideal stop-gap.