That’s it, we’ve been waiting for it, and it’s finally here: transfer season in Italy.
Corriere dello Sport get the ball fully rolling on Wednesday, as they present their readers with an interesting swap + money January scenario involving Inter and Manchester United.
On the Old Trafford side, the target would be Joao Mario, who, following his expensive £36m move from Sporting CP in 2016, hasn’t exactly impressed in Serie A.
However, it appears that José Mourinho still believes in the 24-year-old, and, with a clear lack of depth if Pogba gets injured or suspended, sees him as the man to fill that role.
Going the other way, Corriere dello Sport report Manchester United have mentioned the name of Juan Mata, although Inter aren’t all that thrilled at the thought, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan the Italian side’s preferred option.
While that might have sounded crazy at the beginning of the season, the Armenian’s situation at Old Trafford has taken a turn for the worse, and there’s every chance José Mourinho could consider it if he feels Joao Mario’s arrival would provide his side with a boost.
The Italian newspaper make it clear that both Manchester United forwards would fit in Luciano Spalletti’s system, as either are capable of playing through the middle or down the wings (if needs be).
Considering Mata’s contract situation (ending in 2018 but with the club able to trigger a one-year extension, according to Corriere), any deal involving the Spaniard would have to see the Red Devils include money as well as the player.
As for Mkhitaryan, the issue remains his nationality, as his arrival would block that of Ramires, with only one non-EU spot left in Inter’s squad.
No figure has been mentioned as of yet, and Corriere make it clear these aren’t “official talks” between the two clubs for now, just early ones, involving intermediaries.
With Paris Saint-Germain also keen on Joao Mario, and their ability to offer Javier Pastore in exchange, it will be interesting to see who gets preferential treatment.
Our guess is, judging by the Argentinian’s desire to return to Serie A, it’s advantage Ligue 1 leaders.