Maurizio Sarri wants to add Dries Mertens to his Lazio squad as his contract with Napoli nears expiration.
The 35-year-old Belgian forward is a favourite of Sarri, who remembers their incredible work together in the Campania capital a few years ago. The Italian coach famously transformed Mertens from a winger into a false nine and now he wants to work with him again at Lazio.
As reported by Il Messaggero (via LazioNews24), Sarri has been in contact with Mertens in an attempt to convince him of the move to Lazio. For the time being, the Belgian forward’s priority is renewing his contract with Napoli, where he has played for nine years, but things are currently at a standstill.
The 35-year-old forward will meet with Partenopei president Aurelio De Laurentiis in the coming days to establish whether the margins are there for a contract renewal or not, but should talks collapse then Lazio would be one of the front-runners in the race to secure his signature.
This would be an incredible deal for Lazio; Mertens is still a creative and exciting forward who can both score and create goals, something that the Roman club desperately need given their reliance on Ciro Immobile. He is one of the best progressive passers in Serie A and he’d immediately slot into Sarri’s system, giving the team an immediate attacking boost.
Unfortunately, it still seems fairly likely that Mertens will renew his contract with Napoli. After nine years in the Campania capital, he is in love with the city and the people and is now an honorary Neapolitan, given the nickname ‘Ciro’ by the fans. Due to this, I expect him to renew his deal within the next few weeks. But if he doesn’t, Lazio should definitely work to pick him up on a free transfer.