Ornstein reveals Arsenal, Chelsea, Man Utd ‘approached’ as Atletico set huge Felix loan fee

Date published: Monday 2nd January 2023 10:08 - Jason Soutar

Reported Arsenal target Joao Felix on the bench for Portugal

The agent of Atletico Madrid forward Joao Felix has reportedly approached Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United with the La Liga side willing to loan him out this month.

Felix is expected to be on the move in the winter transfer window after falling out of favour under Diego Simeone.

Atletico paid a whopping €127million to sign the Portuguese international from Benfica in 2019.

Despite the huge transfer fee, Felix has failed to live up to the hype in the Spanish capital, mainly due to his style of play not matching up with Simeone’s philosophy.

Felix starred for Portugal at this winter’s World Cup, showing glimpses of why Atletico paid such an extortionate fee to bring him in at the age of 19.

It would be pretty surprising if a team pays a fee in the region of €127m to sign Felix from Atletico, but that is what the Spanish side are reportedly hoping to receive.

Several clubs have been linked with the 23-year-old, including French champions Paris Saint-Germain and German champions Bayern Munich.

Writing on Twitter on Monday morning, reliable transfer journalist Fabrizio Romano actually stated that PSG are not in the running as things stand.

Romano confirmed that Arsenal and Manchester United have held talks with the player’s agent, Jorge Mendes, with ‘new contacts’ set to ‘take place this week’.

Chelsea, meanwhile, are ‘focusing’ entirely on their deal to sign Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez, who is expected to move to Stamford Bridge for a huge €130m fee.

The Blues are expected to be very busy this month with Todd Boehly tipped to continue his spending spree since succeeding Roman Abramovich as the club’s owner.

RB Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku should be a Chelsea player come 2023-24, but will probably not be signed this month as a £52.7m release clause in his contract does not become active until the summer.

This means a loan move for Felix could make perfect sense.

According to The Athletic correspondent David Ornstein, there is Premier League interest in the former Benfica teenager, though the loan fee Atletico are asking for could prove to be a ‘stumbling block’ for a January transfer.

With Simeone and Felix’s relationship in the gutter, Atletico are willing to let the player depart on a temporary basis but want a €15m loan fee plus his €6m salary covered.

This totals €21m for a six-month transfer, which would understandably make clubs question whether or not it makes financial and sporting sense.

Jorge Mendes is trying to get a loan move sorted, but it is proving difficult, though the winter transfer window has only just opened.

Ornstein does reckon the Premier League is ‘the most likely destination’ for the wantaway Atletico star.

Arsenal could do with a new forward and the loan signing of Felix could answer all of their problems with Gabriel Jesus sidelined with a long-term knee injury.

The financial aspect of the deal will always be the main talking point here, and it would be understandable if the Gunners opt against paying such a high fee to have a player for a half a season.

It could be the best €21m they have ever spent, however, if they manage to win the Premier League title with Felix playing a huge part in that success.

Eddie Nketiah is currently leading the line in Jesus’ absence and has scored in both games since the resumption of the Premier League.

Felix can operate as a lone striker but is a versatile player who would easily slot into the Arsenal attack and provide some much-needed depth with Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli playing a lot of minutes.

Having said that, Emile Smith Rowe is close to returning and the club have been strongly linked with Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk, so Mikel Arteta may not see the need to sign Felix.

READ MORE: Transfer gossip: Arsenal ‘chilly’ on Saka swap as Man Utd and Liverpool both busy

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