Inter Milan’s new Chinese owners are wasting no time in getting their transfer activities underway with the Nerazzuri reportedly agreeing to match Sporting Lisbon’s steep valuation of the Euro 2016 winner.
Fresh from an endearing European triumph with Portugal, the fight for Joao Mario’s club loyalties next season looks to get intense with a number of clubs vying for his signature after an impressive campaign with the Selecao. The likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and even Manchester United have all been linked with the youngster through the course of the on-going transfer window but any negotiations could be completed only after the player returned from the Euros. Sporting Lisbon’s eye-popping price tag of €50 million for the player did throw off a few potential suitors but if reports coming from Italy are to be believed, Inter Milan have agreed to meet Mario’s asking price.
Money isn’t really an issue for the Suning Group, Inter’s new Chinese owners, who are reportedly orchestrating Joao Mario’s transfer via Suning FC in China. This will see the Portuguese complete formalities with a move to the Chinese Super League outfit before being shipped out to the Nerazzuri on loan.
According to La Gazetta Dello Sport, Mario’s agent Kia Joorabchian will negotiate with both the clubs regarding the player’s move before Inter Milan, or rather Suning FC, submit a formal bid to Sporting Lisbon. A transfer in the excess of €50 million could be a headache to Inter as far as compliance with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations is concerned, however in theory it is Suning who are purchasing the player, so the financial limit may not apply to them in this case.
In his 92 appearances for Sporting Lisbon, Mario has found the net 14 times while assisting 17 others. Often plying his trade in both central midfield and along the wings, the 23-year-old proved to be a handful for opposition through the 2015-16 campaign and also in the recently concluded Euros. While he didn’t emerge as one of the shining stars of the European Championships like Renato Sanches, Mario did his part to justify the interest he has been generating in the market this summer.
Champions League football is on offer at Inter Milan unlike some of the Italians’ English compatriots who either have no European presence next season. Chelsea and Liverpool both having shown their interest in the player have only domestic honours to fight for next campaign while Manchester United participate in the Europa League. With N’Golo Kante reportedly close to sealing a move to the Blues and Liverpool still some distance away from completing a deal for the Portuguese, the passage seems to have cleared up for the Biscione to complete the player’s transfer.