Arsenal transfers: Dries Mertens wants Thomas Vermaelen at Napoli
Arsenal transfers: Napoli midfielder Dries Mertens wants Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen to join him in Italy
Dries Mertens has encouraged Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen to join him at Napoli next month.
The Belgium international has found himself behind fellow Gunners centre-halves Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny in the pecking order at Emirates Stadium this season.
Arsenal is a great club and it won’t be so easy for him to leave
And 26-year-old Mertens, who has scored two goals in 14 appearances this term, admits it won’t be easy to convince his compatriot to leave such a great club as Arsenal.
“I have already told Vermaelen to come to Napoli 10 times,” Mertens told Belgian newspaper Knack.
“The city is magnificent and even Benitez asked me to convince Vermaelen to come here.
“But Arsenal is a great club and it won’t be so easy for him to leave.”
Mertens admitted that he jumped at the chance to work with former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez when Napoli approached the PSV Eindhoven midfielder in the summer.
“The club contacted me but also he called me about how keen he was to sign me,” Mertens added.
“That played a role in my decision, a coach who really wanted me, a financial upgrade, a new league and the Champions League.”