A leagueWas he starting to worry about his future? It is still not clear whether Dries Mertens (35) will remain with Napoli. Even now that he wants to give up half of his wages.
A good glass of wine. Good food, sultry weather. After his visit to Werchter Boutique, Dries Mertens is now enjoying a well-deserved holiday in Ibiza, together with wife Kat and son Ciro. Recharging the batteries after a grueling season. A photo on Kat’s Instagram story shows a happy man. Life is Beautiful.
But he is not carefree.
Mertens is still in the dark when it comes to his future. Will he stay with Napoli? Or should he look for a new club after nine years? His contract expires in exactly one week…
“I thought I would stay with Naples, but no offer has come yet. It’s strange that I have to wait so long. I don’t understand it very well,” Mertens said earlier this month during the Nations League break at the Red Devils.
WATCH ALSO. Mertens said this earlier about a possible transfer
Little has changed in the situation so far. The contract talks are dragging on, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis is playing hard. Not for the first time, by the way. Two years ago, Mertens’ extension was already quite difficult. However, De Laurentiis also knows that the Red Devil can still be of service to his club. The 35-year-old attacker proved that last season, in which he skipped between the bench and the base, but became the vice-top scorer after Victor Osimhen with 13 goals.
“Everything depends on him,” De Laurentiis increased the pressure. “Will he choose the money or the privilege to continue living in Napoli? It is not the time for us as a club to make crazy proposals.”
A clear message. The flamboyant chairman only wants to extend if Mertens gives in firmly.
Half of annual salary
Something the sober Red Devil also realizes. He is willing to make concessions, up to a point. Since there was no wind on the club side, Mertens Napoli has now made a proposal himself. He wants to give half of his annual salary – currently about 4.5 million euros – in order to be able to sign up. Wait and see if Napoli will give in. If not, there are other clubs lurking. Mertens has already been linked with AS Roma, Lazio and Valencia. But his preference is known: to stay in Naples. He told the Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport: “I don’t chase dollars, this city is enough for me. Here I will always be a millionaire for life.”
Mertens and Napoli have grown into a ‘match made in heaven’ in recent years. The city and club have captured his heart. And vice versa. Mertens and his family – Kat, Ciro and dog Juliette – are at home there. He is held in high regard. Even shows off on murals. Club top scorer of all time. Diego Armando Maradona passed. The 150 goals mark is now also in sight – Mertens is now at 148.
If he wants to reach that milestone, white smoke will have to come soon. He longs for clarity. Rather today than tomorrow.
Within two weeks, Napoli will start preparing for the new season.
With or without Mertens on the training field? The ball is more than ever in Napoli’s court.
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