By Alex Stevens
Liverpool target Joao Mario is closing in on a £34.5million-plus move to Inter Milan, according to a report.
Sky Italy journalist and transfer guru Gianluca Di Marzio has claimed on his website that Sporting Lisbon are “ready” to accept Inter’s bid for the midfielder.
It is said that talks are ongoing over a deal costing £34.5million plus bonuses and that Mario’s agent Kia Joorabchian has met with Sporting chiefs in the last few hours to thrash out the terms of his exit.
This comes soon after Mario’s father claimed, as reported by the Liverpool Echo blog (7.12pm) that Jurgen Klopp’s team had offered £33million for the midfielder.
Portuguese publication A Bola reported last week that Liverpool would return with a second bid for the Sporting player, 23, and would face competition from Inter Milan after both teams had bids rejected for Mario.
The Italian club are now in pole position to capture a player who remains in line to play the Portugese club’s opening match of the season on Sunday.
“We are not a club that has to sell,” said Sporting’s manager Jorge Jesus at a media conference on Saturday, as quoted by Di Marzio. “If Joao Mario is okay then he will play tomorrow. I do not know if he will be staying or not but we are not club that has to sell, which is great”.
Mario played in the final of Euro 2016 as his home country provided an upset by defeating hosts France in extra-time to claim their first every major tournament.
The energetic midfielder was a standout performer for his club last season as his six goals helped Sporting finish second behind rivals Benfica.
The versatile midfielder is highly regarded by Europe’s biggest clubs for his energy and technical qualities in central midfield.
In other Liverpool transfer news, their £20million man is in good shape but could leave by deadline day.