A fantastic story emerged late Wednesday that Napoli had turned down a massive offer from Wolfsburg for Dries Mertens. According to those reports, the bid was worth a staggering €30 million, triple what Napoli paid to get Mertens from PSV two years ago.
Such a fee would have been a huge coup for Napoli, leading many to wonder why they rejected the offer. Here's the thing, though -- Napoli probably never rejected that offer, because that offer probably never even happened.
It's a wonderful story, make no mistake. Napoli just had to deal with Mertens' agent making up rumors of him transferring to Inter out of whole cloth, then bravely had to fend of an incredible offer from another team for the player they desperately want to keep. It's a heroic tale of ... gumption. Or something. I don't know. Gumption sounds good, we'll go with that.
But before getting all twitterpated by the raw emotion of the tale, let's step back and take a look at what's going on here. Ostensibly, Wolfsburg would be bringing in Dries Mertens to replace either Kevin De Bruyne or Ivan Perisic, both of whom are rumored to be on the way out -- though in reality they'll probably only sell one because selling two of your top three attackers is dumb. Even if Perisic is the one to go and Wolfsburg hang onto De Bruyne, they already have Andre Schurrle in their squad to replace him with. And if they do sell De Bruyne, Wolfsburg would be better suited finding a more natural central playmaker rather than a winger/attacking mid hybrid like Mertens to replace him.
Then there's the fee. Look, we all love Mertens and know he's great. But in reality, he's worth probably half that much. Even the "desperate team in need of warm bodies at that position" surcharge isn't worth double a player's price with almos two weeks left in the transfer window. On the last day, maybe. Probably not, but maybe. Now? No.
Add that to the fact that Wolfsburg have, over the last few years, shown a lot of intelligence and know-how in the transfer market, and there's really nothing about this rumor that adds up. It's fun and makes Napoli look like a strong team willing to do anything to keep its favorite players, but that's about it.