SSC Napoli

Dries Mertens insists Napoli fans should 'always thank' Lorenzo Insigne following Toronto transfer

Chris Smith
Mertens believes Napoli owe Insigne a debt of gratitude.
Mertens believes Napoli owe Insigne a debt of gratitude. / ALBERTO PIZZOLI/GettyImages

Dries Mertens believes Napoli fans should 'always thank' Lorenzo Insigne for his contributions to the club, despite agreeing a summer transfer to Toronto FC.

Insigne put pen to paper on a shock move to Canada earlier this month which will see him depart Napoli after a 16-year association with the club when his contract expires in the summer.

In his first Napoli appearance since sealing his MLS move, Insigne scored from the penalty spot to not only seal a 4-1 win, but also take his goal tally for the club to 115 - equalling the great Diego Maradona.

“It was important for Insigne to score this goal, it was an important moment for him,” Mertens said after the match.

With 144 goals himself, Mertens is Napoli's all-time top goalscorer, while Marek Hamsik is the only other player ahead of Insigne with 121 - a total within reach of the Italy international.

But wherever Insigne ends up on the goalscoring charts during his final months at the club, Mertens is in no doubt that Napoli owe him a debt of gratitude for his unwavering service.

“Insigne made a choice and we will miss him, because he’s an important person for us. We will never forget what he did for us," he continued.

“We’re a little sad, but must give him a great send-off. After 11 years here, he is Neapolitan, and we should always thank him.”

Mertens' own contract expires at the end of this season and though Napoli hold an option for a further year, there were reports TFC had already expressed an interest in the Belgian last year and that they could still move to reunite him with Insigne at BMO Field.

On his own future, Mertens said: "If I am important to the club, then hopefully they will keep me around.”