Manchester United have been handed a massive boost in their attempt to sign Sporting Lisbon star Joao Mario. The 23-year-old has been impressive for Sporting Lisbon in the Portuguese league this season and has been linked with a move to Manchester United and Atletico Madrid in the last couple of weeks.

Manchester United scouts have watched the player play so many time, the most recent been in the 1-0 win over Moreirense just last weekend. In what could be an indication that he is on his way to Old Trafford this summer, Joao Mario has confirmed he will like to play in the Premier League soon. He was specifically asked to comment on the links to Atletico Madrid and Manchester United to which he replied;

“The league I like the most and I’ve always liked the most in the English league.

“It’s the league I like the most but that doesn’t mean I think about that one alone.

“There are plenty of excellent leagues, the Spanish league is a great league, the German one too.

“I always try and watch foreign games because you can always learn something new.

“They are leagues with a different level of competitiveness, so I try and take something from every one to improve aspects of my game.”

This means should both United and Atletico make an offer for him, he is likely to choose the Red devils ahead of the former La liga Champions. This shows despite the recent decline in fortunes for United, they club is still very attractive.

Joao Mario has a £47 million release clause but it is believed United will be able to beat down the price with the player only ready to move to England and Manchestrr United the only English club with a real interest in the player.

With Michael Carrick’s deal ending at the end of the current season and not looking like he will be offered a new deal, Joao Mario could be who United has earmarked as his long term replacement and should the club sign him, it could mean they have dropped interest in signing Renato Sanches.