Everton are showing clear interest in rivalling Sporting CP for the signature of Inter Milan’s Portugal international Joao Mario, according to O Jogo.
The 18-time Liga NOS champions are in the market for another creative midfielder as they are likely parting ways with captain Bruno Fernandes this summer, who scored 32 goals in 53 appearances across all competitions in the recent campaign.
According to O Jogo, the man Sporting President Frederico Varandas wants to replace Fernandes is Mario, as the 2016 European Champion appears to have a fraught future at the San Siro now that the former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has been appointed as Luciano Spalletti’s successor.
We, however, appear willing to rival the Portuguese side in whatever efforts they make to reconnect with their academy graduate, who spent 13 years at the Jose Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon before switching allegiances to the Nerazzurri in 2016.
Negations with Inter are not expected to be easy despite the £18million-rated playmaker having no role to play in Conte’s plans, though, and it would be likely that Mario would come to Goodison as the alternative to Andre Gomes with the capability of being the roaming deputy for Gylfi Sigurdsson.
In the recent campaign, the 26-year-old – who spent the latter half of the 2017/18 season on loan at West Ham United – scored once and assisted three goals in all competitions, although his entire goal involvement came in one fixture against Genoa in November.
Game time was hard for Mario to find under Spalletti, however, with the 43-cap former international regular resigned to a total of 1,168 minutes in the season just gone.