The deal to bring Inter midfielder Joao Mario on a permanent basis looks close to being complete, with only the matter of a supposed clause in his initial deal to join Inter left to resolve.

This according to today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, who report that the two clubs are in total agreement on the terms of the deal but that they are still in contact with lawyers over the point in the deal which brought the 28-year-old from Sporting CP in 2016 which prohibits Inter from selling him on to another Portuguese club.

The Nerazzurri had been in talks with Sporting over a permanent move for the midfielder, who spent last season with them on loan, before discussions broke down over Sporting’s unwillingness to meet Inter’s valuation.

Sporting’s city rivals Benfica were the first team to swoop in and capitalize on the situation, offering the full €7.5 million demanded by Inter.

Yesterday Benfica’s Sporting Director Rui Costa was in Milan to finalize the deal, and the clubs and player are all ready to make it happen.

The two clubs are confident that the supposed clause in the sale of Mario to Inter in 2016 which prohibits the player’s sale to another Portuguese under threat of a €30 million penalty to Inter will not be enforced.

The clubs’ legal advisors believe that there is legal precedent which would suggest that Sporting will not be able to enforce the clause, although they could still launch a lawsuit.

Right now the prevailing thought among Inter’s and Benfica’s lawyers is that the correct interpretation of the clause is as a kind of “right of first refusal” for Sporting meaning that they are entitled to be notified of Mario’s sale to another Portuguese club and have 48 hours to respond and match the offer should they wish to do so.

Should this be the extent of the clause’s scope then there is no reason that the deal to sell Mario to Benfica outright should be refused, although for the time being the two clubs are awaiting further analysis and clarity from their lawyers.