Atletico Madrid are already planning for next season and one of the players on their list is Sporting Lisbon central midfielder Joao Mario.
The 23-year-old has been one of the revelations of the Portuguese League this term, something that has caught the attention of Atleti and some of Europe’s other big clubs.
Mario has a contract with Sporting until 2020 and a release clause which has been elevated to €60m, a figure unattainable for the Madrid outfit who would hope to negotiate a more reasonable fee.
The Porto-born player has featured in 44 games for Sporting this campaign, scoring seven goals and providing 12 assists, and fits the profile Atletico boss Diego Simeone requires for his team.
However, Los Rojiblancos will not have it easy in securing Mario’s signature as Marca reports that Manchester United may be willing to offer up to €57m for his services.
Nonetheless, it is understood the Spanish club are prepared to be patient and, if a transfer to United does not happen, are ready to step in and begin talks.