Chelsea set to sign Juventus defender for £31 million

Chelsea Join Arsenal & Man Utd In Race To Sign 22-Year-Old World Cup Star

JUST IN! Chelsea strike terms with coach Antonio Conte

It is, therefore, hardly surprising that the 31-year-old has been a highly sought-after player in the transfer market for well over a year, with Chelsea in particular, holding a long-standing interest in him.

Maurizio Sarri's contractual situation with Napoli is expected to be sorted out by the end of June, according to Sky in Italy.

In each of his two summers in charge, Conte tried to convince Chelsea to sign Belgium forward Dries Mertens.

The Spaniard's future at Chelsea has been under the scanner with Juventus believed to be interested and even the Blues have been linked with a move for Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski.

While Conte now looks highly likely to depart from Stamford Bridge, it is his reported replacement Maurizio Sarri's turn to try and persuade the Chelsea board to bankroll a move for Mertens, who could potentially be a solid addition to the first-team squad. So I think they have given him time because he will change the football of Chelsea, I think. The 22-year-old performed admirably but succumbed to errors in crunch games which proved to be Chelsea's weak link throughout the season.

Sarri though remains a big fan of Mertens who he converted from a winger to a very successful striker at Napoli who consistently ended up as one of the top goalscorers in the Serie A.

Mertens showed what he's all about with a wonderful volley in Belgium's 3-0 win over Panama on Monday and the Telegraph's report adds that Sarri believes he would be "the flawless man" to line up on the right of a front three.

Sarri will bring Blues legend Gianfranco Zola with him as his No 2 once the club have agreed a compensation deal worth £9.5m with Conte and his staff.

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