West Ham United have been linked with an interest in Inter Milan midfielder Joao Mario, with the Serie A giants keen on selling him for around £12 million as he is now surplus to requirements.
Galatasaray, Real Betis, Valencia, Leeds United and Newcastle United are also keen on the 27-year-old who spent last season on loan at Lokomotiv Moscow.
Mario spent the second-half of 2017-18 on loan at West Ham, scoring twice and assisting once in 18 games to help keep the side up.
With Manuel Pellegrini replacing then interim manager David Moyes, a permanent move couldn’t work out.
The Portugal international scored once and assisted five others in 18 games in Russia last term, and it appears that the Hammers boss is keen on a reunion.
A couple of West Ham fans would also love to have him back at the London Stadium, and here is how some of them reacted to reports linking him with the club on Twitter:
Joao Mario come back please https://t.co/QBrejo4PUg
— #GSBOUT (@Landsy2710) September 21, 2020
Joao Mario back to us is bigger than Bale back to Spurs.
— Dan (WHUFC) Boyle (@DanBoyle17) September 21, 2020
I really rated Joao Mario last time he was with us. Really hope we can sign him up again. ⚒
— #GSBOUTSamzini⚒ (@WHUsamzini) September 21, 2020
@ExWHUemployee please tell me that the reports of us wanting Joao Mario back are true please please please please please
— Alan Rzepa #GSBOUT (@alanrzepa) September 21, 2020
Yes, good solid player ⚒
— Raf1969 🏴🇬🇧 (@Raf19692) September 22, 2020
I though he was decent was just finding his feet when we sent him back
— Rob Mitchell ⚒🏴 (@IamROBMITCH) September 22, 2020
Yes…he was pretty good
— Tony Adams (@tadams1967) September 21, 2020
Yes I thought he was alright. Deserved a full season with us and it was a shame we didn’t sign him in the summer.
— #GSBOUT Josh⚒🇺🇸 (@JoshVernege) September 21, 2020
Yes. Better than what we have at the moment.
— Mark Blackburn (@MarkLBlackburn) September 21, 2020
West Ham clearly need quality additions after picking up zero points in their opening two Premier League games of the campaign.
However, signing another attacking midfielder doesn’t appear to be top priority with the defence in need of an upgrade.
Spending on a position where they have enough options wouldn’t make any sense, and it will be surprising if they end up pursuing Mario’s signature.
While his versatility and quality will no doubt come handy, West Ham need to sign a defender or two instead, and that will go a long way in boosting their survival chances this season.