Change is a foot at Inter.
Conte arrived, formed a list of players deemed surplus to requirements, the names on that list have been shown the exit as the days and weeks have passed since his arrival.
I have dubbed these players “Inter’s Outcast Crew”. This elite crew is made up of some big names like Icardi, Perisic, Nainggolan, and also the subject of this article: Joao Mario.
Joao Mario arrived in Milan during August 2016 with a hefty €45,000,000 price tag. Expectations were high among fans after witnessing his decent form in Portugal’s Euro 2016 winning campaign. Things did not work out the way both the club and fans had hoped for.
JM made his debut early in the 2016/17 campaign and he looked to have settled well. During his debut season JM made 22 starts scoring 3 goals and contributing with 5 assists. The transfer seemed to be worth the high cost.
Lets jump forward to the following 2017/18 campaign. Joao Mario’s form was non-existent. 14 appearances, 5 of those on the starting team, 3 assists all highlighting the difficulties he faced.
The fans too, showed their disgust with the Portuguese performances, often times a groan could be heard rumbling around the San Siro as a miss placed pass or a counter attack cut off with a pass back to a defensive position. This dip in form lead him to a January 2018 loan move to EPL team West Ham United. €1.5 million loan with a €40 million option-to-buy.
The Hammers never took up this option after his 6 month loan in England, only furthering his dip in form and confidence.
Under Spalletti Joao had a mini renaissance, making 20 appearances, 12 of those saw him make the starting 11. 1 goal and 2 assists is all he would contribute to the UCL qualification goal. As the season progressed a dip in form returned, as did the fans dislike of the player.
2019 with Conte
The summer of 2019 saw the arrival of Antonio Conte. The summer of 2019 saw the end of JM’s Inter career, yet to be confirmed.
After spending €45 million for him in late 2016, Inter will be hoping to reclaim most of that fee before the end of the current mercato. So, where do we ship Joao off to? back to Portugal? Germany maybe? Turkey perhaps.
According to reports in the last few days there are 3+ clubs interested in taking our deadwood midfielder.
Rumored moves to Wolves and Brighton never materialized from earlier in the summer.
German clubs RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen have inquired. As have Ligue 1 side AS Monaco who want to load Mario for the season, an option to buy is included rather than Inter’s preferred obligation to buy.
Most recently Turkish side Galatasaray have been tipped to buy the player outright from Inter. With no mention of a loan this is the most likely option to be favored by the club hierarchy.
For now with less than 2 weeks before the season starts, Joao Mario remains on “Inter’s Outcast Crew“. With Ivan Perisic now evicted to Bayern, Mario and Icardi will both find themselves under increasing pressure to accepts deals that lead to their exit from Inter.