Arsenal lock on to mystery LaLiga striker signing as Mikel Arteta doubts over Joao Felix emerge

Joao Felix of Atletico de Madrid during the La Liga match between Atletico de Madrid and Athletic Club Bilbao at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium Credit: Alamy
Joao Felix of Atletico de Madrid during the La Liga match between Atletico de Madrid and Athletic Club Bilbao at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium Credit: Alamy

Mikel Arteta is reportedly casting his eyes in the direction of another LaLiga striker amid claims the Arsenal boss has doubts over the validity of signing Joao Felix.

The Gunners boss is in the market for a new centre forward after losing Gabriel Jesus for around three months. He suffered a knee injury at the World Cup and has undergone surgery to correct the problem. But his absence leaves a big hole in the Arsenal attack.

That said, Jesus was hardly missed as Arsenal roared back to beat West Ham 3-1 on Boxing Day. With Eddie Nketiah leading the attack, the homegrown academy star played a leading role, and scored the third, as Arsenal extended their lead at the top to seven points.

Manchester City can reduce that gap to five points on Wednesday evening with a win at Leeds. But Arsenal can only focus on themselves and ensuring their attack is firing on all cylinders will be one of their top concerns in January.

One man they are reportedly in the running to sign is Joao Felix. The Portuguese star is likely to leave Atletico Madrid in January after falling out with Diego Simeone.

And the Premier League looks likely to be his next destination with his agent Jorge Mendes holding talks with four clubs. As well as Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Aston Villa are also in the running to sign him.

All four clubs could make a case for signing Felix, though it seems Arsenal remain unsure over whether to push his transfer through.

Atletico paid a huge £113m to prise him from Benfica back in 2019 and he has gone to score 33 times in 129 appearances.

Arsenal pushing for alternative to Joao Felix

And while that record is not exactly prolific, plenty feel for Felix with Simeone’s pragmatic approach not suiting his game. Indeed, his style well and truly stifles the player that Felix is.

However, while Atletico would consider a loan deal, they are reportedly looking to include an obligation to make the deal permanent. And with a price tag of around £75m being bandied about, the Gunners, understandably, have some reservations over the deal.

Instead, they are reportedly casting their eyes towards an alternative hitman based in LaLiga as a Plan B.

Spanish journalist Kike Marin picks up the tale and also confirms they have an interest in Felix.

He tweeted: “According to my information, #Arsenal has sounded out his signing, but Arteta has doubts and prefers another LaLiga striker…”

Quite who that other striker is remains to be seen. However, Arsenal boss Arteta has admitted he wants his side to be active in January and bolster his squad for what he hopes will be a successful run-in.

Speaking earlier this week, he said: “We know the importance of getting players early in the summer. That is the same we want to do in January. This is idealistic.

“Sometimes it is not realistic. But obviously, if you ask my opinion, as quick as possible we want the players in to get settled.

“What we cannot afford to do is get a player here that is not for us. We don’t need a body, we need players that make the team better.”

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