The Belgian international’s late career conversion from a winger into a striker has been quite remarkable. After star forward Arkadiusz Milik was sidelined with a knee injury last October, Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri turned to Mertens as an an emergency striker.
He went on to score 34 goals, and provide 15 assists in 46 games last season. The player has continued in his rich vein of form this campaign with seven goals in his first eight matches in all competitions.
Arsenal’s pursuit of the player however ended when Mertens opted to sign a new three year contract the day before the end of the Serie A season, forcing the Gunners to move on to other targets, and eventually to Lacazette.