Manchester City Transfer Target Joao Felix 'Very Happy' at Benfica Amid Rumours

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMay 25, 2019

LISBON, PORTUGAL - MAY 18: Joao Felix of SL Benfica celebrates after scoring a goal during the Liga NOS match between SL Benfica and CD Santa Clara at Estadio da Luz on May 18, 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)
Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

Benfica forward Joao Felix has said he is "very happy" at Benfica but hinted at a future transfer amid rumours of a move to Manchester City.  

Felix set the Primeira Liga alight this season and inspired speculation of a move to the Etihad Stadium. His 15 goals helped Benfica reclaim the Liga NOS crown, and the 19-year-old told the club's official website (h/t Sky Sports) he's content to remain in Lisbon for now.

He said: "I'm good here, I'm very happy, I love the club. I adore these fans who adore me. I want to enjoy the moment, play ball, have fun doing what I like, and then, over time, things happen naturally. I am very happy in Benfica."

Felix—who joined Benfica's academy from Padroense in 2015—made his senior debut in August last year and took little time to shine in Portugal's top flight, attracting attention from the likes of City.

He started in each of the Eagles' six UEFA Europa League matches before they fell to Eintracht Frankfurt in the quarter-finals. Benfica bowed out in the last eight, but Felix could hardly have done more in the first leg as his hat-trick and assist steered them to a 4-2 win, via BT Sport (UK only): 

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

Name: João Félix Age: 19 Nationality: 🇵🇹 Wanted by: Everyone The Benfica wonderkid has made a name for himself this season in the Europa League! https://t.co/BQuzGobrs9

The Citizens recently clinched back-to-back Premier League titles and would normally be expected to invest in an effort to continue that reign. However, the club has been under investigation for alleged financial fair play (FFP) irregularities and could see their investment plans altered as a result.

Domingo Soares told TVI24 no offer had been received thus far and that any team hoping to succeed with a bid would have to meet his €120 million (£106 million) release clause (h/t Adriana Garcia of ESPN FC), via Goal:

Goal @goal

🗣 Benfica’s executive manager, Domingos Soares de Oliveira: “The goal is to keep the squad. If someone hits €100 million for Joao Felix, the intention is not to sell. "If they do not meet €120 million, the player stays.” https://t.co/WRtHTZMtwq

Considering City could be punished with a potential UEFA Champions League ban, it may not be sensible to fork out such a massive expenditure on one youngster who's never played outside Portugal.

Felix has earned comparisons with former Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo, and the prodigy recently spoke of his first encounter with the five-time Ballon d'Or winner:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

19-year-old Portugal stud Joao Felix met Ronaldo for the first time and his description is on point 😂 (via @brfootball) https://t.co/NXOSukicww

City could view Benfica's gem as their "Ronaldo signing" in some ways. A lesser-known starlet from a Lisbon giant ready to wreak havoc in one of Europe's top divisions, except his price tag will be a lot steeper, whichever club signs him.

A summer departure in 2019 looks off the cards following Felix's pledge of loyalty to Benfica, though his hint toward a future transfer materialising naturally suggests he's open to a change down the line.