Arsenal and Manchester United target Joao Felix was left out of Atletico Madrid’s squad for their 2-0 victory over Real Oviedo in the Copa del Rey, leading to increased speculation over his future.
The Rojiblancos’ manager Diego Simeone recently admitted that the Portugal international may leave the club in the winter window, with the Gunners currently thought to be leading the race.
Felix is also reportedly keen on a move to the Premier League, so these latest developments seem to have only increased the likelihood of that happening in the near future.
The Portugal international has been an important player for Atletico since joining the club for a club-record fee of £111m in 2019. However, it looks like his time in LaLiga may soon be coming to an end.
Despite some moments of brilliance, Felix has never really lived up to his hefty price tag at the Metropolitano: in 129 appearances across all competitions for Atletico, Felix has scored 33 goals and has contributed 18 assists.
While this is a decent return, for a club-record signing you would expect him to be one of the top scorers in the Spanish top flight every year, something which has never really come to fruition.
As a result, Felix now doesn’t seem to be part of Simeone’s future plans, as he looks to rebuild his squad with several new additions.
In fairness, some of the blame does have to go to Simeone, who has employed a rigid defensive system at Atletico throughout his managerial reign.
While this has been effective for the club as a whole, it has never been the right way to get the most out of Felix’s ability.
However, Mikel Arteta and Erik ten Hag must think he can offer much more for them, as they have both put him at the top of their transfer shortlists.
Arsenal still the big favourites to land Felix despite United pursuit
Arsenal have enjoyed an outstanding start to their Premier League campaign, currently sitting eight points clear at the top of the table after winning 14 of their 17 games so far.
Indeed, their fine form could be a contributing factor in Felix’s ultimate destination should he leave Atletico this month, as he will undoubtedly want to play in the Champions League next season.
United are also flying high at the moment, though, currently in fourth place after winning their last four matches. So, it may simply end up being Felix’s choice which of the two Premier League giants he opts to join, should a viable offer be submitted by either of them.
However, as reported by TEAMtalk on Wednesday, Arsenal seem to be the most likely to get a deal over the line for Felix, despite Man United pushing hard to sign him.
It is believed that the Gunners have a ‘secret weapon’ in negotiations in the form of Thomas Partey who knows Felix well from their time together at Atletico, so Arteta intends to use this connection to convince Felix to head to the Emirates.
Atletico reportedly values Felix at approximately £87m, so he will command a huge transfer fee. However, if Arteta believes that he will be enough to ensure that the Gunners lift their first league title since 2004, it will be a price worth paying.
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