A mid-table Premier League side have stolen a march on Man Utd and are negotiating a remarkable January transfer for a player who’s intent on moving, per multiple reports.
The winter window promises to be an enthralling one at Old Trafford. Right-back is expected to be addressed with Denzel Dumfries and Jeremie Frimpong both earmarked as attacking upgrades on both Diogo Dalot and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. If either of the Dutchmen arrive, two EPL clubs are waiting in the wings for Wan-Bissaka.
However, taking centre stage will be the club’s pursuit of a new attacker, primarily one capable of filling the void left by Cristiano Ronaldo.
Cody Gakpo is understood to be the club’s primary focus, though whether PSV Eindhoven will sanction a damaging mid-season sale isn’t yet clear.
If they don’t, other even more high profile targets have been linked and one in particular looks destined to be on the move in 2023.
Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix is at the end of his tether in Spain and his relationship with manager Diego Simeone has broken down.
Felix, 23, was a £113m signing from Benfica back in 2019. He’s yet to live up to that price tag, though is impressing with Portugal in Qatar nonetheless.
Felix has been linked with Man Utd as well as PSG of late. His unhappiness in Madrid is likely to result in an exit, something that would help Atletico balance their books after failing to make it past the group stages of the Champions League.
Atletico chief talks up Joao Felix sale
Now, speaking to Spanish broadcaster TVE, Atletico CEO, Gil Marin, all but confirmed Felix will depart next month.
“He is the biggest bet the club has made,” said Marin (via Mundo Deportivo).
“I think he has the highest level in the world but for reasons that are not worth going into now, the relationship between the coach and him is not good, nor is his motivation.
“The reasonable thing is to think that he leaves, although I would love him to continue, but, this is not the player’s idea.”
One would expect a club the calibre of Man Utd or PSG to be Felix’s next destination. However, according to a remarkable report from Marca, it’s Aston Villa who are in discussions over a deal.
What’s more, the player’s agent, Jorge Mendes, is apparently pushing a move to Villa Park.
Aston Villa ‘already negotiating’ incredible coup
Marca state Unai Emery’s side have positioned themselves at the front of the queue to land Felix. Furthermore, it’s claimed agent Mendes is ‘one of the main supporters’ of bringing his client to the Midlands.
The report acknowledges more high profile clubs are interested in Felix, such as Man Utd, PSG, Chelsea and Bayern Munich. However, CEO Marin is reportedly ‘already negotiating’ Felix’s sale to Villa.
Felix can operate anywhere across the frontline, though he’ll likely have his pick of positions if signed. Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins are no slouches up front, though Felix is undoubtedly a significant upgrade on both.
If the reports are accurate and Villa are indeed presiding over a jaw-dropping coup, the club’s transfer record would likely fall.
Villa’s record buy currently stands at the the £38m Emiliano Buendia’s arrival from Norwich City could rise to pending add-ons.
While Atletico won’t recoup anywhere close to the £113m they paid Benfica, they’ll certainly generate far more than £38m.
If the reports are true and Villa are mobilising, we may quickly see the more high profile suitors firm up their own interest. Indeed, nothing sparks a transfer into life than the fear of missing out.
If not, Emery may wind up pulling off one of the most shocking transfer swoops of the season.
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