Inter Milan midfielder Joao Mario has turned down a loan move to West Ham United, according to reports in Italy.

Mario joined the Serie A giants from Sporting Lisbon in a £40m ($55.3m) deal in the summer of 2016 following his performances in Portugal's European Championship-winning campaign.

However, the 24-year-old is said to be unhappy with his role this season after becoming a bit-part player for the Nerazzurri as manager Luciano Spalletti prefers to use Marcelo Brozovic in midfield.

It was believed that Inter were not prepared to sell Mario but were happy to let him leave on loan this month, with the Portugal international considering "a number of options", according to The Telegraph.

With new Hammers boss David Moyes looking to strengthen his midfield in the January transfer window, Mario was seen as the ideal signing with reports stating that the two clubs had come to a loan agreement.

However, Sky in Italy state that the player has rejected West Ham after deciding against a move, dealing a blow to the London side in the process.

There were rumours that Mario could move to Old Trafford as he has long been linked with Manchester United, with the latest reports coming as recently as December last year.

The Porto native is reportedly viewed by Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho as a long-term replacement for current club captain Michael Carrick.

Meanwhile, West Ham will continue their search for a midfielder. They had previously enquired about Stoke City's Joe Allen and were ready to spend £15m ($20.7m) on the Welshman, while the club are also interested in a number of other players.

Moyes is reportedly prepared to listen to offers for Diafra Sakho and Javier Hernandez in order to finance the midfield reinforcements, while Chelsea's interest in Andy Carroll continues to grow as the two clubs have already opened talks over a January move.

Joao Mario
Joao Mario has been a long-term target for Manchester United Getty