Chelsea target Joao Mario has joined Inter Milan, his club sporting Lisbon officially announced the latest successful deal.

The midfielder was a target for Antonio Conte’s Chelsea and Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United.

According to Sporting, Internazionale will pay £38million to secure his services, making him the most expensive player in the history of the Portuguese club.

The player was officially unveiled before today’s game at home against Palermo.

He is the second Chelsea-bound midfielder to reject a move to Stamford Bridge in order to join Internazionale.

Reports in July claimed that winger Antonio Candreva agreed on personal terms with the Blues but in the end he preferred to stay in the Serie A and work under then-manager Roberto Mancini.

Mancini was sacked by the club earlier this month and was replaced by Dutchman Frank de Boer.

Mario does not have the height (5ft 10in), the build or the speed that many consider prerequisites of midfielders in modern-day football.

That is precisely why it’s a delight to see the way he dominates matches, proving that exquisite technique and innate talent still have the beating of power football.

Mario has been directly involved in 13 goals for Sporting in 27 Primeira Liga matches (five goals, eight assists), but it’s the all-round quality of his play that has marked him out as the outstanding midfield performer in Portugal last season.

He has been deployed both as a central midfielder or wide right and has been equally effective in both positions, elegantly gliding around the pitch and quickening the pace of Sporting’s attacks or making sure possession is retained with sure touches of the ball with either foot.

Mario’s magnificent control, accurate distribution and faultless decision-making ensure it’s almost impossible for the opposition to prise the ball away from him.


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