Atlético have Dries Mertens in mind if Carrasco leaves
The 30-year-old has impressed Atleti's technical department but luring the Napoli star away won't be easy. Last season he scored 28 goals and this season he's already on 10.
Atlético continue to scour the market with a view to strengthening the side ahead of next season. After a summer in which they were unable to add to their roster,they're on the look-out for reinforcements. One of the players who has been mentioned is Dries Mertens, especially if one of Simeone's forwards leaves in the next two windows. The Napoli star is the preferred choice because he can play in several positions - either out wide or in a deep-lying role. Last season he was used as an out-and-out centre-forward after Gonzalo Higuaín left for Juve and his substitute Arkadiusz Milik fell injured. He surprised everyone, scoring 28 goals in 35 games - just one behind Serie A'a capocannoniere, Roma ace Edin Džeko.
So Mertens guarantees goals, versatility and vibrancy. The Belgian, who will turn 31 in May, is on Atleti's agenda because not all of Simeone's forwards will remain at the club next year. Yannick Carrasco's future is up in the air and his relationship with the club and his team mates has deteriorated. Antoine Griezmann could also move on while the respective situations of Kevin Gameiro, Luciano Vietto and Fernando Torres are far from clear. Only Diego Costa seems to have a fixed place in the squad.
Barcelona, Bayern and Man United eyeing Mertens
José Mourinho had hoped to bring Mertens to Manchester United and Barça and Bayern Munich have also shown interest. That means that Atlético would have to pay a high price for the player. The Rojiblancos would be willing to fork out a feee of around 30 million euros to land Mertens but then they would also have to negotiate with De Laurentiis. The Napoli president would not facilitate the exit of any of the team's star players - especially Mertens, who he described to La Gazzetta recently as “Napoli's Cristiano Ronaldo”. Mertens renewed his contract to 2020 back in May, with De Laurentiis effusing: “In Italy, Mertens will only play for Napoli”.
Another player on Atleti's agenda is Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera who could arrive on a free next summer.