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It’s official: Joao Mario joins West Ham on loan

Portuguese midfielder chooses No. 18 with the Hammers.

West Ham United Unveil New Signing Joao Mario
New Signing Joao Mario walks out the changing room during the West Ham United Training session at Rush Green on January 26, 2018 in Romford, England.
Photo by West Ham United FC/Getty Images

After weeks of speculation and discussion, West Ham United has picked up Inter Milan midfielder Joao Mario on a loan deal for the rest of this season.

Reports are that the London club will pay €1.5 million for the loan and pick up Mario’s wages for the remainder of the season – the latter of which has not been confirmed.

The club went so far as to put Mario as their Twitter profile banner.

“I am really happy to be here,” Mario told the club website. “It’s a really amazing experience to join this amazing team and I am just glad to be here.”

Mario was the center of several transfer rumors since the window opened earlier in January. Initially, he was linked to Manchester United as a potential trade for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but the latter joined Arsenal in a deal involving Alexis Sanchez.

It was also suggested that Mario may be content to compete with Marcelo Brozovic for more midfield time as Mario has played sparingly under Luciano Spalletti.

Initially, Mario balked at the transfer to West Ham as he seeks to solidify his spot on Portugal’s World Cup team. Additionally, Mario wants Champions League football and West Ham are no where near that – tied for 11th just four points clear of the relegation zone and double-digits away from European football.

However, Hammers manager David Moyes reportedly visited the San Siro last weekend to scout Mario in the Nerazzurri’s 1-1 draw with Roma. Additionally, Mario’s playing time would have likely decreased even more as Inter recently picked up Barcelona midfielder Rafinha on loan for the rest of the season.

“It was a fast move. I have spoken with everyone around the team and, for me, it is exciting to play in the Premier League,” Mario told the West Ham team website. “I spoke with the coach and for me, I am really happy to be training for an amazing coach, also.”

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