By Gursimran Hans
Portuguese midfielder Joao Mario has become David Moyes’s first signing as West Ham manager, signing on loan from Inter Milan until the end of the season. Reports claim the loan fee is 1.5 million Euros, the Hammers will contribute 3.5 million in wages and have an option to buy for 40 mill.
Mario, 25, began his career at Portuguese giants Sporting Club de Portugal. He made his debut for the Lisbon club in a Europa League group match away at Lazio in December 2011, going on to make 91 appearances for the club and scoring 14 goals. He also spent time on loan at Vitoria Setubal.
Having appeared 82 times for his nation at youth level, he made his senior debut against France in October 2014 and has scored once in 31 appearances, the third goal in a 3-0 win over Saudi Arabia in November.
He started all seven games as Portugal won the European Championships in 2016, his performances leading to a 40 million Euro move to Italian giants Inter.
At the San Siro, Mario has struggled for form and found himself out of favour under new manager Luciano Spalleti.
Mario will hope to use the move to improve his chances of being called up to the Portugal World Cup squad. He will wear the no.18 shirt.
Having been encouraged to join by international teammate Jose Fonte, Mario spoke of his excitement about the opportunity.
“I am really happy to be here,” he explained. “It’s a really amazing experience to join this amazing team and I am just glad to be here.
“It was a fast move. I have spoken with everyone around the team and, for me, it is exciting to play in the Premier League. I spoke with the coach and for me, I am really happy to be training for an amazing coach, also.”
West Ham are believed to be still in the race for Anderlecht’s Leander Deondoncker but are believed to be have priced out of a move for Norwich’s James Maddison.