Manchester United are reportedly interested in signing Inter Milan midfielder Joao Mario in the January transfer window.
The 24-year-old moved to the San Siro from Portuguese club Sporting in 2016 and started in 22 Serie A games in his debut season in Italy. He has made only four starts in the league and has struggled to get regular playing time for Luciano Spalletti's side.
Inter manager has preferred Borja Valero and Matias Vecino in the central midfield position. According to ESPN, the Portuguese international is open to the idea of leaving his current employers after the end of this calendar year.
Mario is also attracting interest from Paris Saint-Germain. The Ligue 1 outfit are preparing to make an approach to secure his services. Unai Emery has identified Inter midfielder as a player to bolster the squad, but is unlikely to get a chance in their starting lineup.
At United, he could take the place of either 36-year-old Michael Carrick or Marouane Fellaini in the midfield. The duo's contract at Old Trafford will run down after the end of the season and a switch to England over PSG will boost his chances of playing regular football.
ESPN's report claims Mario prefers a switch to United over PSG. His ability to play in the attacking position also gives him an option to take the place of Juan Mata or struggling Henrikh Mkhitaryan at the club.
The player has also expressed his unhappiness with the lack of game time at Inter. The ex-Sporting star said in November that a decision on his future will be taken during the winter transfer window.
"I can't do anything, but obviously I'd like to play more, like many others in my position. I think things can change and that's what I'm focusing mostly on. One way or another, I'll play more, I'm not worried," Mario was quoted as saying by Football Italia.
"PSG? Rumours are normal and part of football. I always stay focused. I don't want to get distracted because I'm used to it.
"We'll see. I think it's still early and there's still a long time until the transfer window reopens. We'll see what's going to happen and I'll make a decision on what's best for my career."
Jose Mourinho was keen on signing Mario's club teammate Ivan Perisic in the summer. However, the 20-time champions of England and Inter failed to agree a fee for the Croatian international.
The Italian outfit paid €45m (£40m, $53m) to Sporting for Mario in 2016. Inter are looking to recoup the majority of the transfer fee, if they are looking to let him go in January. According to Tuttosport via Tutto Mercato Web, the Milan-based club have slapped a €30m (£26.4m, $35.4m) price tag.
Yahoo Sports claims United will hand Mourinho a January transfer budget of €90m (£80m, $107.1m). The Portuguese tactician is looking to strengthen the left-back, central midfield and wide positions. Mario's signing could help him solve the problems in the centre of the pitch.