Chelsea’s reported transfer target Dries Mertens has allegedly agreed to sign a new deal with Napoli, but the Blues could turn their attention to some alternatives.
The Guardian said the 33-year-old will sign a £140,000-a-week contract and receive a £2.2million signing-on bonus on top of it.
Although it doesn’t technically stop Chelsea, or any other club from signing him in the summer, it is unlikely the Blues would continue their pursuit of the Belgium international as it would not be on a free transfer.
Having reportedly exercised the one-year extension option in Olivier Giroud’s contract, Chelsea could still be in the market for a striker if they plan to cash in on Michy Batshuayi, whose contract will expire next year.
Here are three alternatives Chelsea should consider as Mertens look set to stay in Naples:
Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain)
Like Mertens (before signing a new deal), Cavani would be available on a free transfer this summer.
Cavani is not the versatile forward Mertens is but there is no doubting his ability in front of goal.
The Uruguay international has not featured in a lot of games this season, starting just seven times in Ligue 1, and scoring four goals, largely because Thomas Tuchel also has Mauro Icardi at his disposal.
But he still scored 18 goals in the league last season from just 21 appearances and could be an option if Chelsea are looking for a free transfer signing.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
The 30-year-old wouldn’t be available on a free transfer but, with just one year left on his contract, Arsenal might be forced to sell this summer.
The Gabon international is a proven Premier League goal-scorer – netting 17 times already in the league this term – and he is well-adapted to living in London.
Persuading Arsenal to sell their best player to their city rivals, though, might prove to be difficult.
Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina)
The 22-year-old has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge and could be an option for the number nine position.
He is naturally a winger but spent most of this season as a striker in Giuseppe Iachini’s 3-5-2 formation.
The Italy international has scored six goals and provided three assists in Serie A this season.
He is the youngest on this list and would likely cost Chelsea the most.
But, if Lampard wants a versatile forward who could play in different roles, Chiesa could be the long-term option.