According to Claret and Hugh, West Ham could make a January move for Inter Milan’s Joao Mario to reinforce a midfield stricken with injuries.
Portuguese Mario signed for West Ham in January on a short loan spell last season, chipping in with a couple of goals and also impressing fans with his work rate and versatility.
There was an option to buy the 25-year-old for £26m in the summer (Sky Sports) but the London club declined to do so, opting to spend their budget elsewhere as they brought in Ukrainian Andriy Yarmolenko, Lazio winger Felipe Anderson and centre-back Issa Diop to name but a few.
With summer signing Yarmolenko the most recent Hammer to be struck down by injury, reports believe that Manuel Pellegrini could dip into the market in January to bring the 40-capped international back across the channel.
The former Sporting Lisbon man has become estranged at Inter following his comments in an interview with Gazetta dello Sport (via Football Italia) and has so far not made a single appearance in a competitive match for the San Siro outfit; the Portuguese has either been an unused substitute or left out of the match-day squad completely.
The number 15 is capable of filling in all across the midfield and his performances for the Hammers last season showed that he is good enough for the top flight. Currently Robert Snodgrass looks likely to slot in for Yarmolenko in a 4-1-4-1 but the 380 league minutes he has played in claret and blue this season have yet to yield a goal or an assist, even if he has impressed with his work rate and commitment to the cause.
West Ham’s injury crisis might leave them in desperate times but there’s no need to panic; if they can secure another loan deal or a permanent transfer for Mario (he is valued at £18m by Transfermarkt) in January then they will have a player whom they know what can be expected from.