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One time Liverpool transfer target lined up by former boss Benitez

Dries Mertens has been lined up by Napoli after Schalke 04 stepped up their pursuit of the goal-scoring winger.

Belgium are currently one of the world’s most in-form international nations with an abundance of talent coming through for the nation and one such player is PSV Eindhoven winger Dries Mertens.

The 26-year-old is considered one of their most talented players and that has seen him linked with several moves to the Premier League over the years with Arsenal, Tottenham, Aston Villa and Everton all linked with making a move for the player in the past; but no team has that interest been rumbling on longer than that of Liverpool.

Now while it seems that interest has certainly simmered down there is little doubt that it is heating up for Liverpool’s former boss Rafa Benitez.

The Spaniard took over at Italian outfit Napoli this summer and is looking to make a few tweaks to the squad in order to incorporate his own formational ideas after Walter Mazzarri’s preference for a three at the back ensemble.

Today the Italian press is awash with rumour linking him with a move for the Belgian talent as Mertens is expected to finally move away from the Eredivisie this summer.

It is reported that Napoli are looking to raid PSV for several players including Mertens and there is little wonder why. The tricky wide-man provided 25 assists in all competitions last season.

But he is not alone in watching the player this summer as the common movement of players from Holland to Germany could continue in the case of Mertens.

It was reported a week ago that Schalke 04 had started a line of enquiry with PSV over the potential availability of the Belgian international after his impressive campaign in the red-and-white stripes at the Philips Stadion.

Mertens is seen as the perfect replacement for the departing Ibrahim Afellay and an excellent foil for striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar.

No price has yet been confirmed for the player but he is certainly going to command a fee of at least £7 million.

So it appears that it is a straight toe-to-toe battle for Mertens’ services this summer between Napoli and Schalke 04.

The only real question is … could a Premier League side join the race?

image: © Dries Mertens

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