Despite the sale of Inter midfielder Joao Mario to Sporting CP on a permanent basis looking nearly complete, there is still the issue of the player needing to take a salary cut and Villarreal could jump in at the last moment.

Porto-based newspaper O Jogo have claimed that the player has not yet come to an agreement with the Lisbon club as to the amount of his salary reduction, which is holding up the deal.

The 28-year-old spent last season on loan with Sporting where he contributed to the club’s impressive title win, and it is his desire to stay.

However, his current deal with Inter for net €3 million per season would have to be reduced to €1 million if he moved permanently based on the Lisbon club’s wage structure – the player still wants a less dramatic reduction.

Inter are also currently unwilling to entertain a fee below €7.5 million, another potential obstacle in the deal.

Spanish club Villarreal have emerged as contenders for the Portuguese’s signature with the Europa League champions making a late offer on better financial terms than Sporting have offered.