Dries Mertens: Napoli forward turns down move to Chinese Super League

Dries Mertens
Dries Mertens scored a nine-minute hat-trick past England goalkeeper Joe Hart earlier this season

Napoli forward Dries Mertens says he rejected a move to the Chinese Super League that would have "made his grandchildren rich".

Belgian Mertens, 29, has scored 16 times in Serie A this season and says he was offered a lucrative move.

He told Nieuwsblad: "I thought about it for a day but I refused.

"I can assure you one thing: it was really hard to say 'no' to such a figure because it guarantees wealth for your children and even grandchildren."

Mertens' Belgium team-mate Axel Witsel left Zenit St Petersburg last month to join Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian for a reported £15.3m annual salary.

Meanwhile, Watford sold Nigeria striker Odion Ighalo to Chinese Super League side Changchun Yatai for £20m and Chelsea let Oscar join Shanghai SIPG for £60m.

And Mertens believes money is the primary incentive for any European-based player heading to China.

He said: "Am I curious about what's happening to Witsel? Yes, we've sought information about it, and together with my wife, we've weighed up the pros and cons from testimonies of people who have been there.

"Sometimes you hear players talking about their life choices as a search for a new experience. It's not true, they're driven by money."

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