Incoming Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri 'wants to sign Dries Mertens'

Chelsea news Roman Abramovich Antonio Conte Luis Enrique

GETTYChelsea news Roman Abramovich will not appoint Luis Enrique this summer

Sarri might have his own ideas of what he wants to do with the players or who he might want to bring in and the sooner we can clear this issue up, the better it will be for our plans for next season.

Sarri, 59, guided Napoli to a club record number of points in a single Serie A season last term, with their tally of 91 still four short of champions Juventus.

Sportsmail revealed on Monday that the veteran Italian is close to replacing Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea hoping to resolve the situation this week. The big challenge though which the incoming Chelsea manager would face is to convince the board to sign the Belgium striker as he is already 31-years old and would cost a fortune in the transfer market.

The centre-half was the subject of a summer-long pursuit by Chelsea in 2016, and was again wanted 12 months ago, but he has suggested he will be staying at Napoli to work with Sarri's successor Ancelotti.

And Chelsea aren't the only club with an interest in the forward.

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"When a person like this comes to a new club, he needs time".

Mertens had a £24.5 million release clause in his contract which expired last week and Napoli will surely demand a high fee from a club which will be interested in his services.

Gianfranco Zola's agent has said he has not yet had any contact with Chelsea amid reports that Zola left his role as a pundit on Tuesday to fly to London.

If Sarri is appointed manager at Chelsea, he is keen to target some of his former players, including Senegal worldwide defender Koulibaly.

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