Atletico Madrid ready to fight Man City in race to sign teen sensation Joao Felix
The Rojiblancos believe that the promise of more first-team minutes will persuade the Portugal international to move to the Spanish capital
Atletico Madrid are ready to fight Manchester City in the battle to sign Benfica wonderkid Joao Felix.
Goal can confirm that Atletico are hopeful of convincing the Portugalinternational that he will earn more first-team opportunities at Wanda Metropolitano than with the Premier League champions.
Felix has broken onto the scene during the last year, scoring 20 goals and laying on 11 assists in 43 matches across all competitions for Benfica, with a number of Europe’s top clubs reported to now be interested in the 19-year-old.
Real Madrid, Manchester United and Juventus have all been cited as potential destinations ahead of the 2019-20 campaign while Goal reported in April that he was a seen as an option to improve Pep Guardiola’s squad.
City remain keen and have held meetings with Felix’s agent, Jorge Mendes, since the end of their treble-winning season regarding a big-money move for the teenager.
But Atletico’s interest could now see Felix make the switch to the Spanish capital, with the Rojiblancos holding a strong relationship with both Benfica and Mendes.
Though they cannot compete with City financially, there is a growing belief at Atletico that Felix’s entourage are pushing him towards the Liga runners-up and the increased chance of him appearing from the start in the majority of matches.
Working under Diego Simeone is also understood to be a prospect that would intrigue the player, and though he has a reported release clause of €120 million (£106m/$135m), Atleti feel that if they can convince the player then they would be able to negotiate a lower overall fee.
Should Felix join Atletico, he would likely act as the replacement for Antoine Griezmann, who has confirmed he will leave the club this summer amid speculation linking him with Barcelona.
France international Griezmann is just one of a number of Simeone’s squad to be bidding farewell to the club this summer, with the Argentine set to oversee a huge overhaul of his playing staff.
Defensive duo Diego Godin and Juanfran have both announced they will be leaving when their contracts end on June 30 while left-back Filipe Luis is also out of contract, though his future is less clear.
Lucas Hernandez’s €80m (£68m/$90m) move to Bayern Munich has also been wrapped up, leaving Simeone with few defensive options despite reaching an agreement to sign Porto’s Felipe.
Barcelona right-back Nelson Semedo and Chelsea left-back Marcos Alonso have emerged as targets, but as yet Felipe is their only confirmed summer arrival.