The Chelsea fans in the Transfer Tavern are expecting Diego Costa to leave this summer, and they are eagerly discussing who they want to replace him…
Romelu Lukaku is, of course, the big name reportedly in contention – with the Everton forward in lethal form in the Premier League. However, perhaps Antonio Conte should look slightly further afield. More specifically, perhaps he should look towards his native Italy – and recognise the fine work that Drie Mertens is doing in Serie A.
Napoli are enjoying a fine season in Italy, with a top two finish still on the cards, and much of their success is down to the fine form of their striker. Though naturally an attacking midfielder, Mertens has been utilised as a number 9 for much of the season – and to devastating effect. He has bagged a remarkable 24 goals in Serie A, a remarkable record considering he has started just 25 times in the division.
His qualities extend far beyond his goalscoring record, though. His time spent as an attacking midfielder has meant that he is excellent with the ball at his feet, able to dribble, run past opponents and even spring a pass forward if needed – highlighting the huge amount of influence he can have.
What’s more, though now a striker, he is more than capable of playing as an attacking midfielder in the ilk of Eden Hazard or Pedro – meaning that he can fill in in a number of positions for Antonio Conte.
The Chelsea manager has shown in the past that he is a big fan of his native division, as proven with the acquisition of Marcos Alonso, and he may be wise to do the same again. Whilst a player like Lukaku might push £100 million in value, Mertens may be available for much less – and he would be a great signing.
Chelsea fans – thoughts?
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