Napoli fans ‘stand with Mertens’ against De Laurentiis

Napoli fans are furious with President Aurelio De Laurentiis after all-time top scorer Dries Mertens confirmed ‘nobody called me’ to discuss a contract extension, meaning he’ll leave this summer.

The Partenopei supporters have never had a great relationship with De Laurentiis, but that situation is deteriorating rapidly over the last few months with news he is slashing the wage bill and perhaps lowering their ambitions too.

Lorenzo Insigne was not really offered a new deal, so he has signed for Toronto FC, while Mertens announced last night that he had wanted to remain, but nobody called to discuss an extension, despite having an option on the current contract.

He too will be a free agent after June 30 and the fans are furious, with the hashtag #IoStoConMertens – I Stand With Mertens – trending in Italy on Twitter.

“Mertens did not deserve this treatment,” wrote one fan. “Sadly, we all know how this will end, but not many can accept it. This hurts. His story cannot end like this.”

Others are promising if De Laurentiis continues his purge of top stars, which could also include Kalidou Koulibaly and Fabian Ruiz to cut costs, he’ll “find himself with an empty stadium and zero season ticket sales.”

Mertens has become so firmly embedded in Neapolitan culture that he earned the nickname Ciro – the most Neapolitan of names – and then named his son Ciro as well.

“I don’t know how the story will end, I just know that in any case in 50 years we’ll still be talking about a Belgian Scugnizzo (Neapolitan street kid) who fell in love with Naples and I like many other Neapolitans love him deeply,” wrote one fan.

There are differing versions in the media of what was on offer and what Mertens requested.

2 Comments on “Napoli fans ‘stand with Mertens’ against De Laurentiis”

  1. Perhaps ADL doesn’t realize just how important a loyal fan base is to a professional sports team. If he drops Mertens and Koulibaly, I believe he will find out in the worst way possible.

    I wish he’d sell to someone who loves football.

  2. I understand wanting to lower the wage bill, but the wage bill has already been drastically lowered with Insigne, Manolas, and Ghoulam leaving over the past two seasons. Koulibaly needs to be extended regardless of the cost. Letting one of the best defenders in the world leave over €2m is ridiculous. Without Koulibaly, Napoli are mediocre at best. Mertens should continue to be extended on a year to year basis with the remaining wage that is left over. He is still without a doubt the best goal scorer on the team. Osimhen is great, but he didn’t score a single goal against a team in the top 6 last year. Mertens scores against the best. If he played the minutes that Osimhen and Insigne did this year, he would have led the team in goals.

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