Cardiff cancel Malaysia trip
Tue, 25 Jun 2013 11:58:00
Napoli have signed Belgium winger Dries Mertens on a five-year deal for an undisclosed fee.
The 26-year-old becomes new head coach Rafael Benitez's first signing at the Stadio San Paolo following two successful seasons with Eredivisie club PSV Eindhoven.
The right-footed left winger played his first competitive games on loan from Gent with Eendracht Aalsts, where he scored four times before moving to AGOVV and notching 30 goals in three years.
A move to Utrecht followed and 16 goals in two seasons earned him a move to PSV in 2011.
Mertens scored more than a goal every two games for PSV, with a haul of 37 strikes from 62 appearances.
His time at the Philips Stadion also saw him lift the Dutch Cup and Dutch Supercup in 2012.
Mertens made his international debut in February 2011 and has since scored twice in 19 outings for his national side.
Club representatives including manager Malky Mackay, his assistant David Kerslake, captain Mark Hudson and striker Craig Bellamy were due to fly out to Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.
But with a state of emergency being declared in certain districts and a number of schools being closed, the trip has been put back for health and safety reasons and the club hope to find a suitable date in the future.
The trip was due to include visits to 1MCC (1 Malaysia Cardiff City) grassroots coaching initiatives, schools and meeting with the Malaysian press.
Cardiff's Malaysian owner Tan Sri Vincent Tan said: "It's with disappointment that the planned visit to Malaysia this week by Malky, David, Mark, Craig and other club delegates has been postponed.
"A schedule of events had been put in place ahead of the opening Premier League fixtures, further raising awareness of Cardiff City Football Club in Malaysia.
"However due to the current poor air quality in Kuala Lumpur, it has been decided for the welfare of all concerned to delay the trip, re-establishing plans in the future when the manager and players can better interact with Malaysian based supporters in a suitable environment."
Cardiff have yet to make any additions to their squad ahead of their maiden Premier League campaign but are reportedly in the race to sign Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama.