Chelsea are closing in on Maurizio Sarri as the club’s new manager and he has put Belgian international forward Dries Mertens at the top of his provisional shopping list, according to the Telegraph.
The Telegraph report that the Blues are moving ever closer to making Sarri their new boss and that he wants Mertens, whom he has worked with at Napoli, as a matter of urgency.
They also claim that Antonio Conte has tried to make Mertens a Chelsea player on two occasions but the club’s hierarchy have refused to sanction a move because he is too expensive and old.
Those stumbling blocks may remain for Sarri, as Mertens’ £24.5m release clause reportedly expired last week but he will no doubt hope that his closeness to the player can tip the balance.
Chelsea’s fans will be growing more and more frustrated about the lack of activity and decisiveness that has followed a season of underachievement and much of that is down to the lack of clarity over Antonio Conte’s future.
If Sarri can come in and bring in his top target, who he worked with before, overseeing his transformation into a prolific striker, the double swoop should liven the club up from top to bottom.
Mertens is already showing what he can do with a wonder strike against Panama in Belgium’s opening match of the World Cup and a linkup with his international team-mate would be mouth-watering.
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