Mertens commits future to Napoli, ending Chelsea and Inter links

Goal.com

Napoli have announced that Dries Mertens has signed a new deal, committing his future to the Italian club.

The new deal will see Mertens under contract at Napoli through 2022, with an option to extend that deal for a third year.

Mertens had been linked with the likes of Chelsea and Inter as his prior deal moved towards an end this summer, but the Belgian star will instead remain with the club he has represented since 2013.

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“Pleased to be together for a long time to come – long live Dries!” said Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis, who announced the deal on Twitter.

The announcement comes just days after De Laurentiis revealed that a new deal was close to being finalised between player and club, with the Napoli president labelling Mertens a "badass" and a "street urchin".

In addition, De Laurentiis admitted that it was unusual for the club to offer a new deal to a 33-year-old attacker while adding that he hoped to keep Mertens with the club even after his playing career ended.

Mertens recently overtook club legend Marek Hamsik to become Napoli’s all-time leading goalscorer with his finish against Inter in a 1-1 draw in the Coppa Italia semi-finals second leg.

The goal, which saw Napoli seal a place in the Coppa Italia final against Juventus, was Mertens' 122nd career goal for the club.

In addition to passing Hamsek, Mertens has also passed club icon Diego Maradona's goalscoring total of 115 this season.

The Belgian attacker has scored 13 goals across 30 appearances for Napoli this term, with six of those goals coming in seven European matches.

Mertens originally joined Napoli from PSV for €10 million (£9m/$11m) in the summer of 2013 and has gone on to make 303 appearances for the club in all competitions.

During his time with the club, Napoli have won the Coppa Italia in 2013-14 as well as the Suppercoppa Italiana in 2014.

Mertens and Napoli will have a chance to claim another Coppa Italia trophy on Wednesday when they take on Juve at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

Napoli currently sit sixth in the table after a difficult start under Carlo Ancelotti, with Gennaro Gattuso stepping in as manager following Ancelotti's midseason departure.

After facing Juventus on Wednesday, Napoli will return to Serie A play on Tuesday with a visit to eighth-place Hellas Verona.

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