Bengaluru, August 7: Sampdoria are the latest to join Lazio for the pursuit for 25-year-old midfielder Joao Mario of Inter Milan.
Joao Mario has returned to Inter after his half-a-year loan spell with West Ham United. He has also made an appearance for the Serie A side in the International Champions Cup.
But according to reports in Italy, Joao Mario does not wish to stay at Inter Milan the next season as he is not the favourite for a Starting XI spot following the acquisition of Radja Nainggolan from AS Roma in the summer transfer window.
TMW – A few minutes ago, Joao Mario and Sampdoria technical director Walter Sabatini were seen entering the same hotel together. Will be complicated operation due to the player’s high salary. pic.twitter.com/P5oMY7rgwV— FedeNerazzurra (@_FedeNerazzurra) August 6, 2018
Joao Mario started his professional football career at Sporting Clube de Portugal (Sporting Lisbon) in 2011. He was a regular starter for the Sporting CP B team in the 2012-13 season. After that, Mario was loaned out to another Primeira Liga club, Vitoria Setubal, to gain the experience of first-team football in the winter transfer window of the 2013-14 season. Mario made 16 appearances for the Portuguese side and was voted as the best player of Primeira Liga in the month of January and February 2014.
After the end of the loan period, Mario regained his position in the Starting XI of Sporting CP. Over the next two seasons, the Portuguese midfielder made 90 appearances for Sporting CP in all competitions and scored 14 goals.
Mario then joined Inter Milan in the summer transfer window of 2016-17 season through a transfer deal reportedly worth £40 million. In his first season at Serie A, the Portuguese midfielder made 32 appearances for Inter Milan and struck thrice.
Mario, however, lost his Playing XI spot at Inter Milan in the previous season under the club's new manager Luciano Spalletti. He was subsequently loaned out to West Ham United in January 2018. Mario was also part of Portugal's FIFA World Cup 2018 squad and managed four caps in the tournament.
Now, the 25-year-old Portuguese midfielder wants to leave Inter Milan, hoping that he regularly gets to feature in the Playing XI whichever club he signs for.
Sampdoria have sold Lucas Torreira to Arsenal this summer and are in the hunt for a holding midfielder in transfer market.
Mario will be a great addition to the squad of Sampdoria as he has the experience of playing in Serie A. However, with Lazio also keen on signing the Portuguese, a bidding war is on the cards.