Benfica Reveal €126M Bid for Joao Felix from Atletico Madrid

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2019

Benfica's Joao Felix celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal from the penalty spot during the Europa League quarterfinals, first leg, soccer match between Benfica and Eintracht Frankfurt at the Luz stadium in Lisbon, Thursday, April 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)
Armando Franca/Associated Press

Benfica have revealed they have received a bid worth €126 million for forward Joao Felix from Atletico Madrid. The Eagles released a statement on Wednesday (h/t Marca's Conor Clancy), detailing how the offer is under consideration.

Atleti are said to have offered €6 million more than the 19-year-old's release clause, but the bid involves deferred payments.

While the Portuguese club's statement indicated no decision has been made, some, including Fabrizio Romano of The Guardian, think the deal has already been finalised:

If Atletico have wrapped up the signing of Felix, or are at least close to doing so, it will represent quite a coup for last season's runner-up in La Liga. Winning the race for one of the most highly regarded young talents in Europe would also mean having beaten Manchester City and Manchester United to his signature.

The Premier League rivals have both shown interest in Felix this summer, according to Simon Mullock of the Mirror. He noted how the Citizens were ready to let the Portugal international, who can operate on either flank or as a No. 10, return to Benfica on loan for the upcoming campaign.

Moving to Atletico would raise important questions for Felix's immediate development—specifically about whether the precocious attacker would thrive under Diego Simeone, a manager noted for more for defensive caution than free-flowing football.

Sid Lowe of the Guardian recently told ESPN FC why Felix and Simeone might not be a fit (h/t Lewis Winter of the Express): "I think you can look over the Diego Simeone period, and I think you can look at a total of 10, maybe 12, players who you can fit in as either wingers, attacking wingers or strikers. I think you would say that the only one who was an unqualified success is Antoine Griezmann."

Lowe's mention of Griezmann is telling because Simeone knows he needs to replace the France international's pace, movement and goals. Griezmann will leave the Spanish capital this summer and continues to be linked with Barcelona.

Atleti got a lot out of Griezmann, but he had already established himself with Real Sociedad before moving to the club in 2014. Felix is coming off a breakout season and is still a teenager, meaning it's an expensive gamble to make him the fourth-most expensive footballer in history.

Many may balk at the inflated state of the market when a player with such little experience can command a nine-figure fee. However, many others believe Felix is worth the price:

Atletico are taking a risk, but if Felix realises his potential, he could become the kind of talisman who would help the club bridge the gap to Barca and Real Madrid, both domestically and in the UEFA Champions League.

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