With news filtering through various news outlets reporting Chelsea’s interest in Dries Mertens, it remains to be seen whether the transfer will go through in time, if at all. Chelsea have made an inquiry for the Napoli forward according to Di Marzio, who claims the Blues have a ‘serious’ interest in the 32-year-old. With manager Frank Lampard wanting reinforcements in attack, this could prove to be a stroke of genius, but with only a day left in the transfer window it could fall into the panic buy category…
Why Is He Needed?
Tammy Abraham has been struggling since his early season form which saw him race ahead in the golden boot race and since has struggled to really replicate that form for a number of reasons. It’s to our understanding that Lampard is unhappy with Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud as backups as we have been linked with Timo Werner, Moussa Dembele and Edinson Cavani already this window.
Goals have been an issue or more specifically, being more clinical has been the issue. Abraham leads the way on 15 in all comps but the next highest is Batshuayi and Jorginho on six. Transitioning to this level has proven a success for Abraham, but it has taken its toll, as it would on any young striker.
Games against Newcastle, Southampton, Bournemouth, Brighton and Arsenal have been incredibly frustrating to watch. Creating chances hasn’t really been the issue; of course in the games mentioned there added creativity was needed to break through. But, our expected goals is right up there with the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool. With games of recent times really displaying our troubles in front of goal, reinforcement is needed.
Enter Dries Mertens?
— Mark Brus (@mbrus88) January 29, 2020
A very popular figure in Napoli and Italy, the forward has dazzled in Naples scoring 118 goals and registering 71 assists in 304 games. Deployed anywhere across the front line, he has often featured as a centre forward but can play anywhere in an attacking format. This versatility would be vital to Chelsea as it would add an extra dimension to an attacking lineup that seems in need of revitalising.
Whilst many would point towards signing an actual number nine, transfer targets of Chelsea such as Werner, Dembele and others will be available in summer, or at least more likely of being made in summer than in January. He would be cup-tied in the Champions League but there would be no doubt the flair and invention of Mertens would be welcomed at the Bridge.
In addition, his movement is something that ex-teammate Jorginho would thrive off. Factor in his free-kick ability and his finishing and potential to strike from distance, he is someone that would help invigorate the dressing room and shake things up in the Chelsea camp. With only five months left on his contract, he would be available at a low price with rumours circulating a figure around the £8 million mark. Almost seems as if it is a low-risk transfer considering the pedigree and the money involved.
With targets not being available until summer and no one signed as of yet, it seems time is running out to secure the services of the Belgium international. Whilst focusing on the reasons why he would be a good signing, it is important to look at the contrasting arguments.
His age (32) dictates that it perhaps would be a signing would aim to be a short term impact. Between 12-18 months where he could make a real impact in this team. As a club, Chelsea do need quality. But quality that will be able to do it for years, in keeping with the new youth approach. The likes of Jadon Sancho and Timo Werner adhere to that policy. They definitely do not want a repeat of Gonzalo Higuain.
Transitioning into a new league at 32 years of age and especially England would be very tough. He would also be asked to perform a much different role than the one he does for Napoli. Being a diminutive figure, standing at 5ft 7in would be challenging in England if asked to feature up top for Chelsea. Whilst he may be a short term solution, the club may be better placed waiting for their primary options in summer.
Considering the fee, the state of Chelsea’s attacking play at the current time and Abraham’s injury, it would seem a gamble that the club should take on. If the transfer can be done and it may seem unlikely given the time remaining, it should be. The Blues’ are crying out for someone to come in and add something at the top of the pitch.
His movement, clinical nature and invention could invigorate the team in the push for top four. Also, having quality players at the club can never be a bad thing whether he starts or comes off the bench. It would seem we don’t have anyone that is like him and perhaps he could be the missing link that can get us over the line in tight games which we have sorely needed in recent times. Either way, you may just want to see Chelsea sign someone. If this is a panic buy, then sign me up.