Since being shipped out on loan to West Ham United, Joao Mario has… well… not done much.
The Hammers have showcased Mario — the former Inter Milan midfielder — just six times since his move to London in January and they have won just once… yup, once… in those starts.
In fact, West Ham are just two points above the relegation zone in 17th place.
But, Inter fans, if there is one thing we should band together and cheer for outside of Serie A this season, it’s that West Ham stay above the relegation zone and in the Premier League this season.
If that happens, there is a much better chance that the already mismanaged Hammers will trigger the €40 million buy-out clause in the loan deal at the end of the season.
Here’s what really sealed the deal for me: Mario has returned to Portugal to play for the national team in upcoming friendlies. This week, he spoke to the Portuguese media about playing at West Ham …
“I’m happy with my new adventure and I hope to finish the season well. Inter are part of my past now. I could have played more, but football is about that too,” Mario said. “Now I’m happy and that’s what matters most.”
You are happy barely playing for a team that uses its most recent time off to… you’ll love this… “train” in Miami. You are in the midst of battling for your Premier League lives and your coach decides to send the team on a little vacay in South Florida in the middle of the fight.
First time blowing bubbles! pic.twitter.com/rKM86E88Ch— João Mário (@joaome17) January 31, 2018
Well, Joao Mario, if that is what makes you happy then you are better off not returning to the San Siro.
We had so many high hopes for you when we brought you in from Sporting in 2016. What you did in Euro 2016 gave us hope that we had found an attacking midfielder that would transform our offense.
In your first season we saw it. Despite slight injuries and being on the bench for three games, you showed flashes of what we hoped for – like two assists in a 2-0 home win against Genoa that started a seven-game win streak and brought us up to fourth in the league -- in an otherwise disappointing season.
Then this year, for some reason, you decided to mail it in. Lackluster attacking to be kind and an overall appearance that suggested you just didn’t care. Zero goals and five assists – four of those coming against teams sitting in the bottom five of the league.
Now, after reading your comments, it is pretty clear you didn’t care and, while that is a very difficult pill to swallow, it’s fine. We have moved on. We struggled a little to find the right form and, even though there was a five-goal performance last weekend, we know there is still more work to be done.
I guess I would rather have someone more interested in battling day in and day out to push their team to the top of the pile. I see that in Joao Cancelo. I see that in Rafinha. Consequently, both are players we look to purchase with the money the Hammers will hopefully throw away on you.
A bright sign of the latter is that Italian media are reporting West Ham have already offered about €15 million – an offer that was flatly rejected as Inter Milan hope to recoup a little more of what they paid for him.
So, Joao Mario, you want to consider Inter your past … that’s good because many of us already consider you a part of ours.
Oh, and, just for good measure … go Hammers!
What do you think? Post your comments below!