Napoli forward Dries Mertens is being monitored by Atletico Madrid ahead of a potential summer overhaul in attack, according to AS.
Los Colchoneros have question marks hanging over the future of several forwards in their squad and view the Belgian international as a suitable option to lead the line next season.
With Antoine Griezmann widely expected to depart in the summer and the trio of Kevin Gameiro, Luciano Vietto and Fernando Torres struggling, Atletico Madrid are seeking reinforcements in expectation of a summer exodus.
A stumbling block for Atletico Madrid – aside from Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis being a notoriously stubborn negotiator – is the Belgian’s age; Dries Mertens would be 31 by the time Atletico plan on signing him.
He also signed a contract extension until 2020 in May, reportedly with a €28 million release clause which is only applicable for clubs from the Chinese Super League.
However, Mertens’ explosive scoring record for Napoli last season, where he was used as a centre-forward after playing almost all of his career as a winger, suggests he could add goals to an Atletico Madrid side which has struggled to find the back of the net this campaign.
In fact, Atletico Madrid’s attacking ensemble of Antoine Griezmann, Kevin Gameiro, Luciano Vietto, Fernando Torres and Angel Correa combine for seven La Liga goals from 37 appearances – a statistic reflected in Atletico’s overall lacklustre tally of 16 goals from the opening 11 league fixtures.