Manchester United are in a strong position to sign Atletico Madrid’s João Felix this month, according to tier one journalist David Ornstein and Dermot Corrigan.
Felix has asked to leave the Wanda Metropolitano after falling out with head coach Diego Simeone.
Such is the situation that the club is willing to let the Portuguese international leave on loan this month but they have slapped a pre-emptive €21 million price tag on that loan – a massive amount for six months.
“The chance of the Spanish club recouping anything close to the €127million they paid to sign Joao Felix from Benfica in the summer of 2019 is small, given how his development has stalled under Simeone’s management,” Ornstein and Corrigan say in The Athletic.
“[Felix’s agent, Jorge] Mendes has contacted multiple English clubs to lay out possible terms for a loan until the summer.
“These initial conversations have focused on a €21million package for the remainder of this season, with a €15million loan fee going to Atletico, and the rest covering the player’s wages.
“Industry figures believe that [figure] may come down, perhaps significantly, as the January transfer window progresses.
“At present, interested parties are thought to be prepared to pay less than half of the requested loan fee, plus the salary.”
This puts the counter offer at €13.5m, or £11.7 million – little more than United paid for six months of Odion Ighalo’s time in 2020.
The competition is said to be between United, Arsenal and Chelsea, with City “not thought to be interested” and Liverpool having signed Cody Gakpo.
However, Ornstein and Corrigan believe Arsenal could be more needy and intent than United on making the deal happen.
They point out that the Gunners have little cover across the front line, especially now given the injury to Gabriel Jesus.
They believe United are more interested in a traditional style of centre forward.
“United and Arsenal have both expressed interest but not at the level of finance Atletico are seeking,” they continue.
“There was contact between the United and Atletico hierarchies about Joao Felix last summer. At that point, The Athletic was told Atletico even turned down a bid from Old Trafford, amid Spanish press reports of a €135million price tag.
“However, ideally United would like to add a more traditional centre-forward, especially following Cristiano Ronaldo’s mid-season departure.
“The size of the current package is considered too expensive, even for a club with United’s resources.”
Chelsea are said to be in a similar position to United, that is, interested in Felix but perhaps keener to find an out-and-out striker.
The situation looks unlikely to be resolved until closer to the end of the month. In the meantime, United are likely to be exploring other options, which reportedly include Borussia Dortmund’s Youssoufa Moukoko and Borussia Moenchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram.
Should that sort of option not pan out, or Atleti lower their demands for the loan fee, then United could very well be a strong contender for Felix’s January signature. Whether that would then become a permanent deal is likely to depend on who will be running the club come June.
United Matchday Magazine – be in the know about everything in red!
Still itching for more United content? Get everything you need right here. For just £1.25 per issue/£3.75 a month you’ll receive unique insights into United, straight to your inbox – before every match and throughout the month.
- Get the exclusive build-up to each match, plus team news, tactics and history.
- Not only that – United Matchday is jam-packed with articles, news, transfer news, puzzles, nostalgia and humour.
- Impress your friends and be in the know about everything in red!