EletiofeDries Mertens agrees new contract at Napoli to disappoint...

Dries Mertens agrees new contract at Napoli to disappoint Chelsea and Inter

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  • Belgian could have left on a free transfer in the summer
  • Serie A’s return has been delayed until 14 June

Dries Mertens celebrates scoring against Barcelona in the Champions League on 25 February 25.






Dries Mertens celebrates scoring against Barcelona in the Champions League on 25 February 25.
Photograph: Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Dries Martens has agreed a new three-year extension with Napoli, ending Chelsea and Internazionale’s hopes of signing the 33-year-old on a free transfer this summer.

The Chelsea manager, Frank Lampard, is a huge admirer of the Belgian and was one of his main targets this summer. Inter, meanwhile, offered Mertens a three-year deal worth £170,000 a week but in the end the forward decided to stay at the club he joined in 2013.

Napoli did not match the offer from Inter but Mertens will be paid £140,000 a week once the new contract starts and will also receive a signing-on bonus of £2.2m. The former PSV Eindhoven player has been one of the best forwards in Serie A for the past few seasons and Napoli fans will be delighted that he has decided to stay.

Mertens has scored 90 league goals in 226 matches for Napoli, his highest tally coming in 2016-17 with 28 goals in 35 league games. Napoli are in sixth place in Serie A with 12 games remaining.

Serie A is suspended until 14 June unless the Italian government gives it the green light to resume a day earlier as planned. The league announced last week that the 20 teams agreed to resume competition on 13 June in empty stadiums. However, the Italian soccer federation announced on Monday, a day after a government decree banning sports until 14 June, that it was complying.

FIGC announced that “pending any further and desirable decision by the competent authority” its competitions will remain suspended until that date. Serie A has been suspended since 9 March, when the government ordered a nationwide lockdown.

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