Mertens never considered leaving Napoli amid Barcelona and Chelsea interest

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After an outstanding campaign in Serie A, the Belgium international was determined to stay in Italy, despite admitting the Premier League is stronger

Dries Mertens insists he never considered leaving Napoli prior to signing a new deal, despite suggesting there was interest from Barcelona and Chelsea.

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The Belgium international enjoyed an outstanding season in Serie A, scoring 28 goals in the league, and renewed his contract with the club last week.

Mertens has now revealed that a number of clubs were chasing his signature, but the 30-year-old is adamant that there was never any doubt about where his future lay.

"Discussions on my contract were always going to happen, there was no real pressure," he told the media on international duty.

"The Premier League is the best competition for me, but I am happy at Napoli.

"It is possible that Barca were interested, but I have not had any direct contact. After a season like that, I am super happy at my club. I didn't want to leave.

"There was also interest from Chelsea and other clubs, but, in my head, there was never any intention to change clubs."

Mertens joined Napoli from PSV in 2013, but particularly excelled in a forward role in the past campaign, finishing just a goal behind Edin Dzeko as top scorer in Italy.

"It was a shame not to finish as top scorer in Serie A," he added. "Next season, I'll stay as an attacker."

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