João Félix says he is “totally focused” on the World Cup, but his agent, Jorge Mendes, is looking for a new club for the talented forward.
Club CEO Miguel Ángel Gil Marín said in midweek: “I would love him to continue, but it is not the player’s idea. The reasonable thing is to think that he will leave”.
Atlético are confident that, once they agree to let him leave, a number of suitors will come forward, but they will not sell João Félix for less than €100m, according to AS.
The first club to enquire about the Portugal international was PSG, through Luis Campos, their sporting director. Bayern Munich wanted him in the past and Manchester United are also said to be interested.
Chelsea also have him on their agenda and another avenue that could open up for Mendes and his agent is Arsenal, as Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus underwent knee surgery on Tuesday and will be out for three months, with the Gunners leading the Premier League.
João Félix is not happy at Atlético and spoke to Sport TV after Portugal’s 6-1 win over Switzerland in the World Cup.
“The way of playing here and at the club is different. When the conditions are favourable, things go better,” he said.
There are more than three weeks to go until the transfer window opens and this is not the first time that the forward has considered leaving the La Liga side, although Gil Marín has said no on all previous occasions.
But a lot has changed. “The relationship between the manager and him is not good, nor is his motivation,” the CEO told TVE.
The situation between Simeone and the Portuguese is a difficult one.
With their disastrous Champions League performances and a poor spell in La Liga, Atlético were confident that the World Cup would serve to revalue their players.
Of the 22 players in the squad, 12 went to Qatar, and João Félix is showing his worth for Fernando Santos’ side.
He has started three of the four games, scored a goal against Ghana and provided two assists for Goncalo Ramos against Switzerland.
“I’m totally focused on the World Cup, then we’ll talk about Atleti. My agent is not telling me anything and I don’t want to know either,” he said when asked about his future.
Jorge Mendes has a task with João Félix, who may never play for Atlético again. However, the club do not want to rush his sale either.
AS report that no firm offer for the Portuguese has arrived at the Cívitas Metropolitano. It could even be a loan move with the option to buy.
Atlético expect offers to come in for a player they spent €127m on. Where will he go next? Only time will tell, but whoever signs him has a serious talent on their hands.
GSFN | Kieran Quaile