Atletico Madrid won’t stand in Joao Felix’s way if their wantaway forward decides to pursue his ‘dream’ of joining Barcelona.
Back to the Metropolitano Stadium from a rather underwhelming short-term loan at Chelsea, the Portugal international is ready to pack his bags again.
Out of favour with Atletico boss Diego Simeone, the 23-year-old has infuriated Los Colchoneros by revealing his long-standing desire to play for Barcelona.
Whether it was an honest admission or a malicious attempt to get back at the Madrid outfit for leaving him on the fringes, Felix’s statement could soon take him to Camp Nou.
According to Diario AS, Atletico have given their exit-bound forward the green light to open discussions with Barcelona over a potential summer move to Catalunya.
Felix was reportedly close to securing a loan switch to Xavi Hernandez’s ranks in December 2022 before Los Rojilbancos backed out to arrange his transfer to Chelsea.
Given Barca’s well-documented financial turmoil, a permanent deal is hardly an option, especially considering Atletico won’t allow the Portuguese youngster to leave for less than €100 million.
In 2019, the Spaniards pulled off a club-record transfer worth €126m to sign Felix from Benfica at age 19, making him the most expensive teenager in football history.
Unfortunately, the move has proved a massive disaster. Felix’s career in Madrid has fallen off a cliff, and it’s been in a freefall ever since.
However, his disappointing time in the capital has done little to discourage Atletico from maintaining an outrageous asking price for the versatile attacker.
Barcelona could come to Felix’s rescue, but it’ll require Simeone’s team to sanction another loan with an option to buy, a formula they’re not fond of despite a lack of alternatives.
A decent business relationship between the fierce La Liga rivals may hasten a deal after Antoine Griezmann and Memphis Depay recently followed a path from Camp Nou to Madrid.
Felix is currently a mere idea for Barcelona. Yet the situation could change dramatically should Manchester City accelerate their interest in Raphinha as Riyad Mahrez’s potential heir at the Etihad Stadium.