Jose Mourinho has identified Inter Milan No.10 Joao Mario as a replacement for Henrikh Mkhitaryan next summer, according to reports from Italy.
The Armenian hasn’t made a start under Mourinho since a disappointing outing during the 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge back in early November.
Mario, who moved to the San Siro in 2016, has played a fundamental role in Inter’s surprise ascent to the top of Serie A, recently starring in a 5-0 win over Chievo.
And according to Italian media outlet Corriere Dello Sport, Mourinho has pin-pointed the 24-year-old as an ideal replacement for the unreliable playmaker.
We all know just how good Mkhitaryan can be when he enters full flow: crisp on the ball, intuitive, nimble across the ground, an eye for goal.
And yet, at the same time, the elusiveness of his talent is becoming all too obvious as well. You could forgive him for dipping in an out of form if he was, say, 23-years-old, but at 28 he is at his peak and continues to drift and flounder.
Anybody who, in the space of the year, suffers two prolonged spells away from the first team simply cannot be relied on, and supporters will be delighted to see Mourinho focusing his attention on alternative options.