Napoli Transfers: Dries Mertens Passes Medical Ahead of Napoli Move

Jason VossFeatured ColumnistJune 23, 2013

EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS - OCTOBER 04:  Dries Mertens of PSV Eindhoven celebrates scoring the second goal of the game during the UEFA Europa League Group F match between PSV Eindhoven and SSC Napoli at the Philips Stadion on October 4, 2012 in Eindhoven, Netherlands.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Belgian international Dries Mertens has completed his medical ahead of a move to Napoli, according to Sky Sports. The deal is reportedly worth €9.5 million and is Rafa Benitez's first signing as manager of the Partenopei.

The 26-year-old winger has been at PSV since 2011, after the Dutch giants signed him following a successful spell with fellow Eredivisie side Utrecht.

Since joining PSV, Mertens has scored 45 goals in 86 appearances, including 27 in 49 matches in the 2011-12 season. Not only a goalscorer, Mertens has a knack for setting up his teammates and contributed 24 assists in 2011-12, as well as 17 this past season.

Here's a glimpse of what Napoli fans can expect from Mertens.

His drop to 37 appearances last season can be attributed to a groin injury, and while those types of injuries aren't the most serious, they tend to linger and can severely hamper a player's efficacy.

That, coupled with the emergence of Memphis Depay and Jurgen Locadia, meant that Mertens didn't walk back into his starting role, but when he was on the pitch, he was very effective.

He's a member of this "Golden Generation" for Belgium, and while he has struggled to hold down a starting role, he's been capped 19 times for his national side. Along with Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Nacer Chadli and Kevin Mirallas, he's a part of Belgium's formidable attacking midfield/wing contingent.

It remains to be seen what formation Benitez will choose to play, but considering he prefers a 4-2-3-1, the Spanish tactician will likely utilize that system, at least for a portion of the season. Mertens would be able to slot into the left side of that three-man attacking midfield, as he's a natural left-winger.

Mertens' numbers speak for themselves. Scoring 45 goals and contributing 41 assists in 86 appearances means that the Belgian winger is involved in an average of exactly one goal per game, a truly amazing statistic.

He's an energetic attacker with a good bit of pace, possessing the creativity to get past defenders and create chances for his teammates. He's a consistent performer in the prime of his career who was had by a very reasonable fee.

If Benitez does choose to use the 4-2-3-1, Napoli would have a very potent attacking midfield triumvirate. Mertens would be fielded on the left, with the world-class Marek Hamsik through the middle and Lorenzo Insigne possibly on the right.

Insigne's best position is on the left, so it'll be interesting to see who Benitez prefers on that flank. Mertens is capable of playing on the right, so regardless of who Benitez plays on the left, both players should be able to be accommodated into the starting 11.

Like Mertens, Insigne is a tricky, diminutive winger who provides a good bit of energy and creativity, as evidenced during his time with the Italian team that finished runners-up in the recent 2013 UEFA U-21 European Championships.

Napoli owner and president Aurelio De Laurentiis has made it known that he will reinvest the money he receives from a possible sale of Edinson Cavani, according to Radio Marte (h/t Goal). Cavani is a world-class player, and no one player will be able to replicate what the Uruguayan striker has brought to the Napoli attack.

Because of this, whoever De Laurentiis signs to fill Cavani's void at centre-forward will likely need help in the goalscoring department. Mertens is a player capable of doing just that.

Napoli have completed a really good bit of business in signing Mertens. De Laurentiis has admitted his fiduciary responsibility to get players that will improve the team, so even with the possible departure of Cavani, Napoli fans should be in for another great season in 2013-14.