Manchester United have reportedly made João Mário one of their top transfer priorities after missing out on Benfica's teenage star Renato Sanches. The Old Trafford club had been expected to complete a deal for the 18-year-old midfielder before he signed for German giants Bayern Munich on Tuesday (10 May), but United have now turned their attention to the Sporting Lisbon attacker.
Mário, 23, has been strongly linked with United in recent weeks, with the club eager to add more youth and creativity to their midfield ranks. The attacker has impressed this season at Sporting Lisbon and is set to be included in the Portugal squad for this summer's European Championships.
United could possibly strike a deal before the Euros start on 10 June, according to A Bola, which would reduce the risk of his asking price soaring if he stars at the tournament in France. Mário has been scouted by United a number of times already this season and the club are said to be preparing an offer worth between €35m (£27.6m) and €40m.
However, Sporting's hierarchy are thought to be holding out for a better offer for their star player, with the club reportedly demanding a fee of €60m. It is said, too, that the Portuguese club would like to keep hold of Mário for another season before letting him go.
Last month, meanwhile, Mario admitted to being an admirer of the Premier League, although he said it was not the only domestic competition he enjoyed watching. "It's the league I like the most but that doesn't mean I think about that one alone," he said.
"There are plenty of excellent leagues, the Spanish league is a great league, the German one too. I always try and watch foreign games because you can always learn something new. They are leagues with a different level of competitiveness, so I try and take something from everyone to improve aspects of my game."