clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Mertens: I could have replaced Neymar at Barcelona

The Napoli star says he was a Blaugrana target

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

SSC Napoli v Shakhtar Donetsk - UEFA Champions League Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

Dries Mertens has claimed Barcelona were interested in him and has hinted he regrets not moving to Camp Nou, particularly after Neymar left for Paris Saint-Germain.

Speaking to Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, Mertens said he was put off a move to Barcelona because he felt he would spend most of the time on the bench.

"There was interest from them [Barcelona] for a while, but I would've been the reserve to Leo Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, so after a great year at Napoli I didn't want to go back on the bench, even if it was Barcelona.

"I decided to sign a new contract here and then Neymar went to Paris Saint-Germain, so the transfer market exploded.

"At times I think: 'What would I be like now at Barcelona?' I like to think that, because if you look at who has been playing on the left there in recent months, I could've played there."

Source | Het Laatste Nieuws

The Belgian also confirmed he has negotiated a €28 million release clause in his contract after receiving a huge offer from China last summer.

Mertens enjoyed a brilliant season last time out and has continued where he left off in this campaign scoring 10 goals in 12 Serie A starts.

Barca, meanwhile, opted to spend big on Ousmane Dembele to replace Neymar but had the misfortune of seeing him suffer a serious injury on his first Liga start.

Would Mertens have been a good signing for Barca? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Barca Blaugranes Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Barca news from Barca Blaugranes