Jose Mourinho wants to sign Joao Mario from Inter Milan when the Italian giants make a move for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who has fallen out of favour at Old Trafford.
The Manchester United midfielder has failed to match expectations since his arrival from Borussia Dortmund last summer and Mourinho has finally lost his patience with Mkhitaryan following a number of unconvincing performances this season.
The Armenia international was a regular in the starting XI at the start of the season, but he has now been relegated to the side lines and was omitted from the match day squad for six of United's last 10 games in the Premier League. United are said to have set a £35m price tag for the midfielder and Inter are said to be keen to sign the midfielder.
According to the Sun, the Portuguese manager wants Joao Mario to move to Old Trafford once Mkhitaryan joins the Serie A giants. Mourinho is said to view the Portugal international as a long-term replacement for Michael Carrick, who is likely to be allowed to leave at the end of the current campaign.
Mario is valued at £40m by the Italian club, but their interest in Mkhitaryan could allow United to reach a compromise. The 24-year-old, who joined Inter in 2016 has only started four games in the league this season and is said to be unhappy with his position at the club.
Inter manager Luciano Spalletti, however, praised the midfielder and admitted that he was not aware of the player's desire to leave despite him being unhappy with the amount of playing time. The manager's comments were backed up by the club's sporting director Piero Ausilio, who confirmed that no player has asked to leave.
"As for Joao Mario, he's a simple lad to understand, he has a wonderful attitude in attending training and in the dressing room. When I've talked to him he didn't tell me anything strange," Spalletti said about Mario, as quoted by Goal.
"There can be a lot of rumours about a player, they can be true or false but he's a good lad from a professional point of view," the Inter coach added.
"Joao Mario? Spalletti said it, he is staying 100%. Cancelo? It's the same thing, no one asked us to leave..." the manager's comments were backed up by Inter sporting director Ausilio, as quoted by Italian publication Calcio Mercato.