Arsenal banking on risky Joao Felix plan that gives Man Utd a huge advantage

Atletico Madrid striker Joao Felix Credit: Alamy
Atletico Madrid striker Joao Felix Credit: Alamy

Arsenal and Man Utd have both been confirmed as interested in signing Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix on loan this month, though a risky Gunners strategy has put the ball in United’s court, per a report.

Both Arsenal and Man Utd are on the hunt for reinforcements in the final third this month. The latter’s need swelled once Cristiano Ronaldo left by mutual consent. The Portuguese icon has since been unveiled at Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr and has become the world’s highest-paid sportsperson.

Arsenal, meanwhile, suffered a cruel blow when talismanic frontman Gabriel Jesus picked up an injury while with Brazil at the World Cup.

The 25-year-old suffered medial ligament damage in his right knee and may not return for another two or so months.

Arsenal have tabled a second bid for Shakhtar Donetsk’s Mykhaylo Mudryk with Fabrizio Romano recently confirming the exact fees involved. However, the Ukraine ace is a winger and a central striker is still being eyed by Arteta and co.

A loan arrival makes sense for both the Gunners and Red Devils for different reasons.

United are strapped for cash having overspent in the summer and a loan deal is therefore all they can muster. Arsenal have no need to make a long-term commitment to a striker given Jesus’s injury absence won’t last forever.

The Athletic’s David Ornstein reported on Monday Atletico Madrid are open to sanctioning a loan for Joao Felix this month. However, he also explained why a move to England isn’t as straightforward as it should be.

Atletico are reportedly commanding a total package worth €21m (approx. £18.5m). That equates to a loan fee of around £13.2m along with the cost of Felix’s wages – roughly £5.3m – for just six months.

A fresh update from the Athletic on Tuesday shed new light on Felix’s future. The outlet went on to detail Arsenal’s curious plan that has given Man Utd a huge advantage.

Arsenal playing with fire over Joao Felix

The Gunners aren’t willing to meet Atletico’s current demands and as such, are prepared to play a waiting game until the latter stages of the window.

The hope is Atletico will get desperate and lower their demands, at which point Edu will pounce. However, that strategy is fraught with risk for two reasons.

Firstly, the door is now open for Man Utd to swoop in over the next fortnight or so. Secondly, Arsenal play two of their biggest games of the season in mid-late January and waiting until the final week, for example, would mean Felix misses those matches.

Arsenal square off against Tottenham on January 15 and host Man Utd a week later on January 22.

The ultimate irony for the Gunners would be Felix lining up alongside Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and co. for that clash with Arsenal.

However, if the Athletic are correct, that’s a gamble they’re prepared to take.

READ MORE: Fabrizio Romano reveals exact fee as Arsenal fight off Chelsea and submit second bid for Mykhaylo Mudryk

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