The deal to send Inter’s Joao Mario to Sporting CP, once thought to be nearly complete, has stalled over the fee, but Sporting are preparing to improve their offer.

This is the report of today’s print edition of Lisbon-based newspaper A Bola, who claim that the Portuguese champions will soon present another offer to the Nerazzurri to sign the midfielder on a permanent basis.

Inter’s asking price is €7.5 million, while Sporting’s only concrete offer has not come close to that valuation, totalling €5 million, with €3 million initially and €2 million in add-ons.

Should the Lisbon club not bring their offer much closer to Inter’s demanded fee, the Nerazzurri will refuse to sell.

The 28-year-old has reportedly told his agent to seek out alternatives to Sporting in case the Lisbon club are not willing to make an offer that Inter would accept.

Villarreal and Nice are among the potential destinations for the midfielder should a Sporting move fall through, with both clubs thought to have approached Inter and the player about a possible move.

However, it is still believed that the Portuguese prefers to make his loan move from last season permanent over all other moves, and will be a Sporting player next season if the club can present an offer that Inter will accept in the coming days.