Napoli striker Dries Mertens is unlikely to remain at the club beyond the end of this season, opening the door for a Premier League move.
The Belgian's contract in Naples is up at the end of June, and even though a £6m move to Chelsea failed to materialise in January, it looks like his time in Serie A is coming to an end.
Manchester United and Arsenal are also thought to be keen on bringing the 32-year-old to the Premier League, though Frank Lampard's Chelsea remain favourites to conclude a deal they were unable to close in the final few days of the winter window.
But a deal could be brought back to life, this time for free, with Gazzetta dello Sport (via MailOnline Sport) claiming that contract extension talks with Napoli are at a standstill, because of Mertens' demands.
The Italian publication claim Mertens wants €7.5m (£6.3m) per year for two seasons, but Napoli are currently offering just €4m (£3.3m) plus another €1m (£845,000) in performance-related bonuses.
The Belgian is acutely aware that he'll be able to earn more money in the Premier League, and may want to experience a new challenge as he heads into the twilight of his career.
Mertens' initial reluctance to join Chelsea stemmed from his desire to break Marek Hamsik's all-time goalscoring record at Napoli. The diminutive forward is just three goals away from the Slovakian's 121-goal haul, and has just under four months left to break the record.
Even if he fails to do so, Mertens' record in Italy speaks for itself. He's made over 300 appearances for the Neapolitans since arriving from PSV Eindhoven, and has established himself as one of the best finishers in Serie A.
He'd add significant firepower to Chelsea, United and Arsenal's frontlines, with each one of the Premier League heavyweights needing quality additions up front, and could play a key role for Belgium at Euro 2020 this summer.
Source : 90min