Leeds United have reportedly made an approach for a Serie A midfielder this week – and it’s not Rodrigo De Paul nor Erick Pulgar…
According to Portuguese outlet O Jogo, the Whites are in the race to sign Inter Milan’s Joao Mario, who appears to have no future under Antonio Conte at the San Siro.
It’s claimed that Premier League rivals Newcastle United and his former loan club West Ham United are also keen on signing him before the transfer deadline.
The report also suggests that the Serie A giants have asked for €13m (£12m), which is something Lokomotiv Moscow aren’t prepared to pay after his most recent loan spell.
Temporary stints in east London and Russia is hardly what you’d expect from a player that’s won the Euros and one that cost a total of €45m (£41m) in 2016 but that’s where Joao Mario finds himself.
He’s struggled to make much of an impact in recent seasons.
During his time at the Hammers, the 27-year-old only contributed to three goals from 13 appearances, averaging 1.3 dribbles, 1.2 key passes and 1.2 shots per game, though that improved to five goals and 2.5 key passes per match in Moscow last term, via WhoScored.
Perhaps it’s his versatility to be able to play through the middle and out wide that has held him back as he’s never been able to cement down a proper position despite possessing undoubted technical ability.
David Moyes believes the Portuguese maestro “brings a little bit of flair, he’s good on the ball, and a bit of natural talent,” adding: “What goes unnoticed is that he’s actually a really hard-working boy as well.”
Whether Marcelo Bielsa can be the man to bring the potential back out of him very much remains to be seen.