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Arsenal 'turned down chance to sign Dries Mertens'

Arsenal 'turned down chance to sign Dries Mertens'
© Reuters
Arsenal rejected chance to sign Napoli attacker Dries Mertens earlier this month, according to a report.

Arsenal reportedly turned down the chance to sign Napoli attacker Dries Mertens in the early stages of the January transfer window.

The Belgium international, who will see his contract in Naples expire at the end of the season, continues to be strongly linked with Chelsea ahead of Friday night's transfer deadline.

However, according to The Times, Arsenal were offered the opportunity to sign the 32-year-old earlier in the window only to pass up a move due to the attacker's age.

The report claims that Gunners boss Mikel Arteta signalled that he wanted to focus on younger players as he looks to rebuild the squad at the Emirates Stadium.

Mertens has only scored four Serie A goals this season but found the back of the net on five occasions in the group stages of the Champions League.

Arsenal have signed Pablo Mari on loan from Flamengo this month and are thought to be closing in on a deal for Southampton defender Cedric Soares ahead of the deadline.

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on December 26, 2019
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