Napoli forward Dries Mertens has admitted he wonders what life would be like had he joined Barcelona when the Catalan giants tried to sign him earlier this year.
The Belgian has scored 10 goals in 13 Serie A appearances this season to help Napoli climb to the top of the table, and he insists he is happy to stay at the Stadio San Paolo.
Mertens said he opted not to pursue a transfer to Barca because of the stiff competition for places at Camp Nou, but the subsequent departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain left him pondering his decision.
“Every now and then you feel like doing something different,” Mertens told Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws. “I don’t always go on vacation in the same place, but at this moment, a transfer is not in my plans.
“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.”
Mertens, reinvented as a striker by coach Maurizio Sarri, scored 28 Serie A goals last season as Napoli finished third and established themselves as an exponent of some of the most attractive football played anywhere in Europe.