One of the hallmarks of the transfer window is the utter redundancy of positions that a team is linked with. In Everton’s case, when we hear the Blues are being linked with a midfielder out first instinct is to be very suspicious. However, seeing how poor the link-up play has been getting the ball forward from the back, there is an argument to be made that the Toffees could use a box-to-box-midfielder with vision and passing range.
Then we hear that the player linked is an attacking midfielder who has had a miserable season and a half in the Serie A and we immediately lose all interest beyond being simple bearers of said rumour. 48 games played with 3 goals scored and 13 assists for an attacking midfielder in Italy doesn’t quite set the heart racing.
Joao Mario was part of Portugal’s 2016 European Championship winning squad, aka as one of the ten little people in the ‘Cristiano Ronaldo and the Ten Dwarfs’ fairytale. And like many of the other dwarves from that summer, he has amounted to precious little beyond that title.
An utterly unimpressive year and a half has done little to justify the €45m (£38.4m) transfer fee that Inter Milan paid Sporting Lisbon, and now the nerazzuri are looking to offload the player’s wages at least for the rest of this season after signing Rafinha from Barcelona.
As the graphic above shows, Joao Mario simply doesn’t do enough on the defensive side to be considered a box-to-box midfielder, and the Blues might as well keep Tom Davies for that role.
There have been plenty of reports in recent days (Calciomercato, via This Is Futbol) that up to five teams have been offered the player for a loan deal in the January transfer window - Everton, Watford FC, West Ham United, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla.
HITC add that the with Inter failing to make Europe this season, they have a pressing need to sell under-performing assets under Financial Fair Play regulations and apparently David Moyes’ Hammers are looking to buy.
In which case, have at it Moyesy, because Everton might have 99 problems but attacking midfield ain’t one.