Joao Mario is ready to leave Inter to join Benfica, but the deal could be put on hold while Sporting CP threaten legal action over the sale.

This according to today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, who report that the midfielder is at the heart of a transfer tug-of-war between the two Lisbon clubs.

The 28-year-old spent last season on loan with Sporting, where he helped the club win their first Portuguese championship in nineteen years, and he had initially hoped to stay at the club on a permanent basis for next season.

However, talks between Sporting and the Nerazzurri fell through over Sporting’s unwillingness to meet Inter’s valuation.

Still hoping to offload the midfielder, the Nerazzurri began to listen to other offers, with Sporting’s city rivals Benfica jumping to the front of the queue by making an offer that meets the Nerazzurri’s €7.5 million asking price.

It is now thought that the player is happy with a move to Benfica, and that the move could go ahead.

However, Sporting have threatened Inter with legal action should the deal go ahead, and are ready to invoke a supposed clause in the deal which saw the Portuguese move to Inter from Sporting in 2017, which prohibits the Nerazzurri from selling him to one of Sporting’s Portuguese rivals.

For the time being, the Nerazzurri’s lawyers are looking into the clause, and whether or not they would be able to sell the player without incurring a financial penalty owed to Sporting as supposedly stated by the clause, and the fate of the deal could rest on the legal details involve.