On the 26th January 2018, West Ham announced the loan signing of Inter Milan man Joao Mario.
The Portuguese international was brought in as late winter signing after injuries to Manuel Lanzini and Marko Arnautovic meant West Ham would be without much creativity in David Moyes’ side.
The EURO 2016 winner had come to east London after an underwhelming first half of the season with Inter Milan. After joining the Italian giants, the former Sporting Lisbon midfielder failed to make much of an impact under Luciano Spalletti, and in the winter window, the then 25-year-old midfielder was allowed to leave the club on loan for regular first-team minutes.
Here is how West Ham fans reacted to the news…
— (@CallumWHU__) January 26, 2018
This is actually pretty good. @RobPritchard78
— Damian Muncaster (@DMonk1974) January 26, 2018
Love it…Welcome Mario..
— StevieCOYI (@_SKF63_) January 26, 2018
Why spend all this money while ignoring the existence of Reece Oxford? One of your finest ever home grown products and you’ve thrown him away. No money to be made from academy graduates, i suppose.
— Peter Courtney-Green (@ancienrelique) January 27, 2018
Yes, welcome to our Very Good Team Joao!! Hope you do Very well for Us !!
— Roy Jessep (@RoyJessep3) January 27, 2018
Looks a good player DG
— ian ford (@IanEenyford) 27 January 2018
good but a loan move? show the ‘next level’ ambition mister @davidgold and get a striker and other midfielder on PERMANENT deals in! you promised us the next level, deliver on it
— FlutterNuffer (@Wafflereck) 26 January 2018
— ¿ (@JSHlad) 26 January 2018
Unlike some of West Ham’s past winter signings, Mario was a success in east London. The Portuguese midfielder made 13 Premier League appearances for the Hammers in his four-month stint with the club, scoring two goals and assisting another during that time.
Mario was even named MOTM in his first match for the Hammers, a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace two days after joining the club from Inter. Although the season was overall a disappointing one for West Ham, fans were pleased with Mario’s performances with the club, with his work rate and creative ability in the midfield often praised during his stint in the English capital.
Rumours circulated after his loan-spell was over that West Ham would attempt to bring the midfielder back to the London Stadium after he was finished with the World Cup with Portugal, however, no deal ever materialised despite Mario telling Italian media that he did not want a return to Inter.
Despite this, Mario was eventually brought back into the Inter first team and in only his second start of the season, the Portuguese midfielder put in one of the standout performances in Serie A this season, scoring one and assisting three in a 5-0 win at home to Genoa. The playmaker has gone on to make 15 appearances so far this campaign since.
West Ham fans, would you take Mario back? Let us know!
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