Chelsea transfer twist as Dries Mertens makes U-turn on Inter Milan decision

Chelsea could lose out on Dries Mertens this summer with the Napoli star now reportedly considering a move to Inter Milan. The Belgium international is out of contract at the Stadio San Paolo this summer and has been attracting attention from around Europe ahead of the upcoming transfer window.

Chelsea had supposedly made Mertens their No 1 target as they search for attacking reinforcements, according to reports from Belgium earlier this month.

Het Laatste Nieuws claimed the 33-year-old is a ‘top priority’ for the Blues and Mertens himself is ‘ready for a new adventure’ after a seven-year spell with Napoli.

Inter Milan are also in the hunt for the veteran forward, but it was thought that Mertens was not keen on staying in Serie A if he was not able to renew his contract in Naples.

But that stance appears to have changed with the frontman now said to prefer a move to the San Siro, according to Sky Sports Italia via Football Italia.

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Mertens arrived at Napoli from PSV Eindhoven in a deal worth just £8million, but has since racked up 121 goals in 309 matches for the club.

The forward is tied all-time top scorer outfit alongside Marek Hamsik, but may not have a chance to claim the outright record due to the coronavirus crisis.

Calcio Mercato had previously reported that the forward is demanding a two-year deal worth £3.5million (€4m) per season, while he is also hunting for a renewal bonus.

Additionally, Mertens wants Napoli to rescind the fines imposed on their players following an internal mutiny against the club hierarchy last November.

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However, Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentis does not wish to cancel the financial penalties while he is also reluctant to pay more than £2.6m (€3m) per season in wages.

With negotiations at a stalemate, it was thought that Mertens was considering a switch to Stamford Bridge as the player is keen on testing his mettle in the Premier League.

But the latest development suggests he is now more willing to join former Chelsea boss Conte at Inter and strike up a partnership with compatriot Romelu Lukaku.

Lampard wants to snap up Mertens as a cheap way of easing the goalscoring burden on Tammy Abraham, with the Blues expected to be busy reinforcing other areas of the squad in the summer transfer window.

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A left-back as a replacement for either Emerson Palmieri or Marcos Alonso is required and further forward they are looking to sign an attacking midfielder to compensate for the loss of Willian and Pedro as the duo run down their contracts.

Ben Chilwell and Jadon Sancho have been identified as two likely signings while a host of other high-profile names have also been touted for a move to west London.

Additionally, a number of established goalkeepers have been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge with uncertainty surrounding Kepa Arrizabalaga’s future.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are expected to allow Michy Batshuayi, Davide Zappacosta and Tiemoue Bakayoko to depart but Lampard wants to keep hold of Jorginho and N’Golo Kante.

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