Man United turn attentions to Sporting Lisbon’s Joao Mario – report

by Ben Topliss

Manchester United have turned their attentions to Sporting Lisbon midfielder Joao Mario after missing out on Benfica’s Renato Sanches, according to reports.

Mario, 23, has scored six goals in 32 appearances this season and he helped Sporting to a Super Cup win over Benfica.

Man United are said to be keen on the player having seen prior target Sanches agree a deal with Bayern Munich this week.

Mario is under contract at Sporting until 2020 and he has a £40m release clause but the Portuguese club are said to be willing to accept slightly less.

United’s 3-2 loss against West Ham United last time out, which effectively ended the club’s hopes of securing Champions League qualification, showed why they need to strengthen in the summer.

Ander Herrera and Morgan Schneiderlin were meek in midfield, Daley Blind had a nightmare at centre-back and United only mustered a handful of shots on target. Getting Mario in would be a start but United may find it more difficult to convince players to move to Old Trafford if they do not secure a top four finish in the Premier League.

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