Juventus Reportedly in 'Pole Position' for €120M Benfica Star Joao Felix

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2019

PORTO, PORTUGAL - MARCH 2:  Joao Felix of SL Benfica during the Liga NOS match between FC Porto and SL Benfica at Estadio do Dragao on March 2, 2019 in Porto, Portugal.  (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)
Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

Juventus are reportedly in "pole position" to sign Benfica starlet Joao Felix and are said to be prepared to meet his €120 million release clause. 

That's according to AS (h/t Football Italia), which echoed a report from Sky Sport Italia in February that Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici has already met Felix's agent, Jorge Mendes, and Benfica president, Luis Felipe Vieira, to discuss the 19-year-old sensation.

Felix burst into Benfica's first team this season and contributed 11 goals and six assists in all competitions, including three strikes against his side's biggest rivals, Sporting CP and Porto.

Much of his best work has been done in the Primeira Liga, per Scouted Football:

Scouted Football @ScoutedFtbl

Direct goal involvements in the Primeira Liga this season: 13 • CS Marítimo 13 • João Félix The 19-year-old has featured in just 911 league minutes. https://t.co/J1kVHn96XD

His efforts in January earned him the division's Player of the Month award.

Blessed with searing pace and remarkable technical skill, Felix is "devastatingly effective when running at defenders," according to Bleacher Report's Marcus Alves.

"With a vast skill set that will probably only get better as he develops more," Alves added, "he already possesses an elegance and self-confidence with the ball comparable to the best talents in the game."

Portuguese football writer Tom Kundert has also run the rule over the teenage star:

Tom Kundert @PortuGoal1

...but it's as a striker that he really looks like he can be a superstar. Instinctively in the right place, a lethal finisher, even in the air when competing against strapping centre-backs. Whisper it quietly but Portugal may at long last have a reliable Number 9 goalscorer.

Felix has often played in a central role this season in support of Haris Seferovic, but he's also played—and looked comfortable—on both flanks.

Juventus may have splashed out on Cristiano Ronaldo last summer, but the Portugal international is now 34—he was never intended to be a long-term acquisition.

It seems the Bianconeri are attempting to steal a march on their European rivals, many of whom will likely also be keeping tabs on Felix's rapid rise to stardom.

The youngster looks to have a bright future ahead, but he has just 28 first-team appearances under his belt.

Prising him away from Benfica will be an expensive proposition, but it's difficult to imagine Juve—who don't have the same resources as clubs such as Real Madrid, Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain—spending a nine-figure sum on a teenager who's still relatively inexperienced.