Manchester United will have to go back to the drawing board after seeing an opening offer for Joao Felix unceremoniously batted away by Atletico Madrid.
The Portuguese forward is pushing to leave Atleti this month after reportedly falling out with manager Diego Simeone. And it seems Felix is unhappy with the tactical approach employed by the Argentine, which often sees the side set up in a defensive formation.
With Felix feeling his abilities are stifled at the Wanda Metropolitano, Simeone has come clean on his wishes to leave.
As a result, he has left a move away from the club in the very capable hands of his agent, Jorge Mendes. And it seems as though the 23-year-old will make the Premier League his next destination with talks being held with four sides.
As well as United, the likes of Arsenal, Aston Villa and Chelsea are also reportedly keen on the former Benfica man.
However, Benfica are only willing to sanction a loan move for the Portuguese star. That said, a loan deal would suit his suitors given the costs needed to secure his services.
Of the quartet, Chelsea seem to have their transfer interests focused elsewhere, while Villa – who cannot offer European football – are seemingly out the running.
That will potentially leave both United and Arsenal to slug it out over his signing.
And reports on Wednesday indicated Arsenal have an ingenious way to beat United to his signature.
But it is United who have made the first move to sign him – albeit with an offer that falls massively short of Atletico Madrid‘s demands.
Man Utd launch £3.5m loan move for Joao Felix
According to reports in The Sun, United’s opening offer for Felix comes in at just £3.5m. That arises as a straight loan fee to Atletico, and with a full wage commitment.
However, the Rojoblancos are determined to hold out for their full asking price, which is set at £10.5m. As such, reports in Spain claim they have very quickly rejected the Red Devils’ opening gambit. That means United will need to almost treble their initial opening offer.
That said, United manager Erik ten Hag knows he is having to work with a limited budget this month. He was allowed to spend well over £200m during the summer on phase one of his rebuild.
And while the January window is open for business, United are expected to keep their powder relatively dry. Instead, the club are gearing up for another big summer spend.
Ten Hag, though, has confirmed that his side do wish to strengthen in attack.
Questioned earlier this week, Ten Hag insists plans are in place to get him more options up front.
“There will be many games to follow, so I think there is a need for a new striker,” he said. “We need one who can have an impact, otherwise you are just burning money and you don’t strengthen the squad.”
One option open to United is recalling Amad Diallo from his loan at Sunderland. However, Ten Hag insists he is happy to leave the winger where he is following his excellent form on Wearside
READ MORE ~ Transfer Gossip: Ten Hag registers Man Utd interest in three signings as talks begin
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