Former Club Director Confirms Man Utd Interest In €28m Serie A Striker

Manchester United are tracking Napoli star forward Dries Mertens according to the Italian club’s former director Pierpaolo Marino.

He was speaking to Italian newspaper Tuttosport (h/t Metro) and confirmed the presence of a €28m release clause for the player. More importantly, he confirmed the interest from the Red Devils.

“The €28m clause is likely to be a low price even if he is 30,” Marino told Italian newspaper Tuttosport. “It turns out that United are following him very closely.”

The Belgian signed a contract extension with the Italian club only in May but continues to be linked with a move away. He had a stunning campaign last year, scoring 28 goals, leading Napoli to being the real challengers of Juventus.

Mertens already has 7 goals and 2 assists from 7 matches, leading Napoli to a perfect start. They sit on top of the Serie A standings, two points adrift of Juventus and Inter Milan.

The player turned 30 in May, and that would be a huge negative for United’s interest. But the Belgian did attract some interest in the summer, with Chelsea reportedly keen as well. United were also fleetingly linked and that interest has now been made concrete with this latest revelation by Marino.

In a season where Juventus are looking considerably below-par, Napoli are being regarded as the best of the rest with a genuine chance to win the title. A key factor for this is the form of Mertens.

His statistics for the season so far translate into one key contribution every 60 minutes. That’s probably why Chelsea were lining up a summer transfer for the Belgian forward, only for Mertens to snub the approach and stay back.

“Yes there was interest [from Chelsea], and from other clubs also,” he said. “But in my head there was never an intention to change clubs. This season was really good. I am going to try and be even better next year.”

Mertens was named as ‘Belgian Footballer of the Year’ in 2016 and it was a great achievement considering the array of talents who represent Belgium. His new deal keeps him at Napoli until 2020.

I think the biggest hurdle in this transfer link is Mertens’ age. The Red Devils obviously try to tread cautiously with players on the wrong side of 30 and it wouldn’t be any different with the Belgian.

I would be very surprised if United go ahead with this next summer. There are other targets that they may pursue and they may fit in better than Mertens.