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Rumor Mill: West Ham seeking Joao Mario

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Will he, or won’t he? That is the question and the answer seems to be ‘no.’

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FC Internazionale Training Session
Joao Mario of FC Internazionale in action during the FC Internazionale training session at Suning Training Center at Appiano Gentile on January 14, 2018 in Como, Italy.
Photo by Claudio Villa - Inter/Inter via Getty Images

Apparently, a new player has entered sweepstakes for Inter Milan midfielder Joao Mario. Numerous reports suggest West Ham United are in talks with the Portuguese international and the Nerazzurri for a possible loan deal.

The Telegraph in England has reported the two clubs have agreed on loan terms for the remainder of the season, but it is Mario who is balking at the deal.

Mario wants to play in Europe as well as increase his playing time to lock down a spot on Portugal’s national team ahead of the 2018 World Cup. The problem is West Ham are languishing near the bottom of the Premier League table and have little if no shot at getting into the top six by the end of the year.

West Ham manager David Moyes wants to strengthen his midfield during the window, according to The Telegraph, and he is willing to sell players like Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho to do it.

This season, Mario has played sparingly under Luciano Spalletti and the hopes are that Mario can find the form that made him a stand-out Sporting Lisbon. Reports suggest Inter is looking strictly at a loan move, not a sale.

Sky Sports reported earlier that Mario turned the transfer down outright, meaning the he was either weighing his options – see possible Manchester United link here – or was content battling with Marcelo Brozovic for the attacking midfielder’s job.

The problem with Manchester United is that the Nerazzurri reportedly sought Henrikh Mkhitaryan as a trade for Mario, but United wanted no part of that deal, which leaves Mario pretty much right where he is, unless the latest rumor of him being offered to Valencia has any traction whatsoever.