Arsenal and Everton both missed out on the chance to sign Napoli striker Dries Mertens in January because they dithered and allowed a clause in his contract to expire, it has emerged.
The two Premier League sides were looking to add firepower to their attacks during the transfer window, and Mertens was available at a reduced price of around £9m as his contract had just six months left to run.
DH in Belgium state that Mertens’ current deal had a release clause that was able to be triggered up until January 10th, but only by foreign clubs.
Everton and Arsenal were intrigued by this news and the Toffees ‘took the temperature’ of the situation, deciding if they would be able to convince him to move to Goodison Park.
Dries Mertens was eyed up by Arsenal and Everton in January
In the end however, no deal was struck and the 32-year-old decided to stick around at the San Paolo Stadium to achieve his goal of becoming the Serie A side’s all-time top goalscorer.
Mertens is currently joint top with Marek Hamsik, scoring 121 goals in 309 games, which is the same amount as the Slovakian, who did it in 520, but from midfield.
Mertens scored against Barcelona to equal the record
The former PSV Einhoven star drew level with Hamsik by giving Napoli a 1-0 lead over Barcelona in the Champions League last week, before Antoine Griezmann netted a second-half leveller.
The Gli Azzurri legend hasn’t had a particularly prolific season in Italy by his standards, netting six times in 21 Serie A outings this term.
Chelsea were another club hopeful of landing Mertens on a free transfer in the summer with his current deal set to expire in June.
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But according to Sky Sport Italia, he is ‘edging closer’ to agreeing a new deal with Napoli after all.
He is said to have met with club president Aurelio De Laurentiis, with the contract…