New Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino does not want Joao Felix to return to the club next season, Atletico Madrid’s president has said.
Felix joined Chelsea on loan from Atletico in January and went on to make 20 appearances in all competitions in the second half of the campaign.
The 23-year-old said in recent weeks that he is happy at Stamford Bridge but he now appears to have no hope of making a return to the Premier League side next season.
Speaking at an event at the Complutense University of Madrid, Atletico president Enrique Cerezo said that he had been informed in the past 24 hours that Felix is no longer wanted by Chelsea.
“We have known for less than 24 hours,” Cerezo was quoted as saying by Spanish sports newspaper AS. “The Chelsea manager does not count on him. He will come [back to Atletico] when his commitment ends and we will see what happens. We do not have anything planned, but he is an Atletico Madrid player.”
Chelsea paid a fee of £9.7 million to sign Felix on loan in January, when there was also interest from Arsenal in the Portuguese international. At the same time, Felix signed a one-year extension to his contract with Atletico.
Felix went on to score four goals for Chelsea and has suggested on numerous occasions that he would be keen to extend his stay at Stamford Bridge.
In March, Felix said: “Chelsea is a team who likes to attack, who likes to have the ball, who likes to dominate the game, so that’s the game I like to play. I feel very free to play here, to play as I like. I’m loving it. When I left Atletico, I thought it was good for me and for them. So I think it was the perfect deal. So I think it’s important for me, this loan, and I’m very happy to play here.”
And earlier this month, he added: “I don’t know yet my future but these four or five months, I love it. It’s a top club. Everyone in the club was very good to me. My team-mates are unbelievable. I really like to be here.”
The news comes a day after Chelsea formally announced Pochettino as their new head coach, with the former Tottenham Hotspur manager agreeing a two-year deal that has an option of a further 12 months.