Napoli forward Dries Mertens has declared his love for the city of Naples in an interview with La Repubblica newspaper (translated by Calciomercato.com).
Speculation has been growing over the Belgian international’s future at the Serie A club after it was revealed that his contract includes a €28million (£25m) buyout clause. Arsenal reportedly made an attempt to sign the 30 year old at the end of last season before he signed a new deal to remain at the Partenopei, but Mertens seems content to stay in Italy:
“I was nobody when I joined Naples and people have always been very nice to me. I know every corner of this amazing city, even the parts that I should not go to. Somebody snubbed this club in the past, other players don’t know what they are missing.”
Considering the forward’s most recent comments, it does raise the question at to why he would have insisted on such a low release clause in his contract. He is an integral part of Napoli’s title challenge, having followed up his 34 goal haul last season with nine goals already this campaign.
It must be said that his affection for Naples doesn’t preclude him leaving the city for a new challenge, and it could be that next summer he is subject to a number of offers, with Arsenal no doubt one of his potential suitors if Alexis Sanchez does depart the club.