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Benfica issue statement to confirm Joao Felix deal with Atletico Madrid was false; hope for Manchester United and Manchester City?

Manchester United and Manchester City have both been boosted after speculation on Monday suggested that Joao Felix was soon to leave Benfica for Atletico Madrid after the Spanish club agreed to pay the players €120 million release clause this summer.

The Portuguese club issued a statement on Monday evening confirming that the 19-year-old, who had been linked to both Manchester clubs, amongst others this summer, denying that a deal had been agreed with Atletico Madrid for the player. The statement said:

“In view of the set of news published in these last hours, Sport Lisboa e Benfica – Futebol, SAD clarifies that it is false that any negotiation process is currently under way regarding a possible transfer of player João Félix.

“More serious, and that deserves our most vehement repudiation and denial, is the false news that refers to negotiations that involve commissions of 30% and which, unfortunately, was echoed in Portugal by the newspaper A Bola, with intentions and goals that we do not know at all.

“We repeat: this information is totally false, absurd and has clearly intentional intentions for the reputation and dignity of Sport Lisboa e Benfica.”

Felix, 19, played 33 times for the Benfica first team this season, scoring 18 goals, which for his age is pretty good. However, there is nothing to suggest the player will be a hit in the Premier League, which is why clubs will need to be careful and continue his development, should he come.

The player ended the season making his senior debut for Portugal in the UEFA Nations League semi-final against Switzerland, then against the Netherlands in the final, winning his first major honour for his country – he will be a player with so much excitement for what the future holds.

Obviously, with the players release clause being so high, any team interested in him would need to monitor him rather than being trigger happy and paying his release clause, which is going to be a massive gamble. However, so far in his career, he has headed in the right direction.

It could be that Atletico Madrid will end up signing the player this summer, as they will need to replace Antoine Griezmann, who is currently linked to Barcelona, although some newspapers will suggest that United are also interested in him, which does not look like the case.

Manchester United reportedly ready to break club transfer record for Joao Felix

Manchester United have been linked to 19-year-old Portuguese sensation João Félix and now the links keep coming with the world expecting the Old Trafford club to start to right the wrongs of the past six years of failure which has seen the club spend more than £700 million on players, many of them have not worked out.

Earlier on Monday, reports in Portugal from Correio da Manhã, reported by Sport Witness, suggest that Jorge Mendes is now involved in the teenager’s prospective transfer this summer. It has been stated in the report that Félix’s agent and his family now view this as the time for him to leave Benfica, accepting one of the offers the player has.

There has been a long list of clubs interested in the 19-year-old with United, Manchester City, Juventus, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona. Félix has scored 19 goals, assisting a further eight in 38 appearances this season. There is a chance that the teenager could be en route to becoming one of the best players in world football, something many teams will be interested in acquiring.

Benfica president Luís Felipe Vieira is understood to want the player to stay at the club for another season and despite the player having a €120 million release clause, it was attempted to raise that to €200 million but the player was not keen on accepting that. However, if the release clause is met, the commission will need to also be paid by the buying club so this will be a costly deal for any club wanting to sign him.

On Sunday, Portuguese newspaper Record stated that both Atletico Madrid and United had representatives present in the final match of the season, where Benfica received the league title and Félix scored a great goal. However, it was also claimed that both clubs were already negotiating for the 19-year-old and that United would pay the release clause for the player, if necessary.

The Evening Standard seems to have taken a different approach suggesting that Benfica want £150 million for Félix but also stating that the Portuguese club may lower their demands, accepting a bid of around £100 million for the player. They do not seem to state anything about the release clause of the player – perhaps actual research is time-consuming? It does not make this source look any more reliable, not that it is reliable in the first place, in my opinion anyway.

Spending this kind of money on one player is always going to be a gamble, however, some will view it as necessary, especially if there are other clubs interested in the player. It might be unlikely that Manchester City and Barcelona would spend this amount of money on one player this summer. Juventus spent a lot of money last summer, acquiring Cristiano Ronaldo but the club could be set for a huge shakeup this summer, meaning funds might be available.

Also, with Antoine Griezmann confirming that he will leave Atletico Madrid, they will have money to spend. United though, will have money to spend, especially when you look at the money they have been turning over during recent years and the fact that last summer, the total net spend was around £60 million, the money from the lack of investment there should be added to the amount to be spent this summer. United need investment in the playing squad, also the sale of many players in that squad, which could supplement new arrivals.

Whether United do in fact make a move for the 19-year-old this summer obviously remains to be seen. There have been many reports over the past few months and United does have a scouting presence in Portugal, so I guess that gives the media enough information to speculate but there might be some truth in this. I am sure we will start to see signs of this happening, if indeed it is what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ed Woodward wants. If not, it can be resigned back in the bin of speculation.

Manchester United target Joao Felix would be open to following in Cristiano Ronaldo’s footsteps to success…

For a while now, reports have been emerging regarding Benfica prospect Joao Felix and a prospective transfer this summer with Manchester United just one of the clubs that are mentioned, as is normally the case. Just over a month ago, reports suggested that Felix, who has a €100 million price on his head, despite being just 19 years old. That figure would be too much to shell out for a player yet to achieve something.

As the season starts to head into the twilight, the speculation surrounding players, most linked to United, hots up and you start t read rumour after rumour suggesting that something solid is about to happen, which most of the time does not. However, hidden in these reports of supposition, there is normally something worthwhile hidden, which may actually happen. I don’t think this is one of them though.

That aside, Felix is growing as a player and if not this summer, he will be tempted to move to a bigger club than Benfica. The Portuguese club is great at selling young and talented players for big transfer fees, also they are good at marketing the said players, creating attraction and getting the money they desire. That is something that most clubs in the world of football fails to do, United included, seemingly selling players cheaply.

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Now, Felix has spoken to the media in Spain about many things, some which are ensuring that this rumour of his departure from the Portuguese club continues to grow before it and up leaking air and sinking into the doldrums of football transfer media once again. This seems to be the way sports writing has evolved, not for the better, in my opinion. Nearly every player out there can be linked to United.

However, the comments by Felix, which are, of course, open to interpretation, seem to suggest that, although it will not happen now, he does have the desire to play for some of the bigger teams in European football. Marca spoke to the player recently, trying to get some juicy tidbits of information, presumably to ensure these rumours continue to grow. Speaking about moving clubs, Felix said:

“My dream is always to play for the big teams and in the big competitions, but as I’ve already said, I am here and I am very happy at Benfica, who are also a big European team.”

Felix was also asked about his obscene transfer fee, which has now risen from €100 million to €120 million, however, looking at the initial reports, the €20 million increase could be something or nothing, probably the latter. The 19-year-old’s comments on the fee seem to be pretty down to earth though, suggesting that he’s, not yet, a player that is going to be driven by his ego. When asked if the fee was crazy, Felix said:

“Maybe, yes. But I don’t understand the market or values, they are things for agents and presidents. I confine myself to playing.”

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The most interesting part of the interview was Felix’s comments about Cristiano Ronaldo, who started his career in Portugal playing for Sporting Lisbon then signed for United in the summer of 2003 and playing for United until the summer of 2009 when he was sold to Real Madrid for £80 million. After years of success, Ronaldo is now playing for Juventus. Ronaldo’s path could be something Felix would be interested to follow:

“I don’t know him [personally]. He’s an enormously hard-worker, an exemplary footballer for everyone.

“Everybody knows his story, that it wasn’t easy. He’s been one of the best in the world for many years and he will carry on being so for a long time. Real Madrid are really feeling his absence.”

United will no doubt be looking to strengthen their squad this summer and boy do they need to. Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, it could be that he will seek to sign younger players who can be developed into United players rather than established players who would expect the club to change for them to fit into it. Sir Alex Ferguson developed players to fit in at the club and Solskjaer seems to have the same mentality.

Manchester United linked with big money move for Portuguese midfielder Joao Felix this summer…

Manchester United have been linked to Joao Felix in what could be a £100 million move for the prodigal midfielder. I know, right! The Glazers paying that sort of money for a 19-year-old is unlikely, right? It has been reported that United’s scouting network has watched Felix on a number of occasions this season, including the weekend before last, in which caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was reportedly given a glowing report of the teenager.

In January, Barcelona signed Frenkie De Jong in a £65.3 million deal which will see him move from Ajax to the Catalan club on the 1 July 2019. United supporters, at the time, were upset that Barcelona swooped on such a player, who had been linked to United, whether those reports were concrete or not. De Jong is the type of talented young player that United should have had a lot of interest in, even rivalled Barcelona for his signature, but they did not.

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Benfica would reportedly be willing to sell Felix in the summer and £100 million is their preferred price for the teenager. Benfica has had their players linked to United before though. Who will forget Nicolás Gaitán, who was linked to United for a number of summers, eventually leaving for Atletico Madrid in 2016, now playing for Dalian Yifang in the Chinese Super League. He was never a serious target for United, despite the rumours in the media. This could well be the same.

Benfica has also had some of their young players linked to United in order to gain attention from elsewhere. It had looked like Victor Lindelof was going to be similar to this as he was linked to United the years before they made the move to sign him for €35 million, last summer. An Old Trafford source, reported by The Sun, which may have been fabricated, reportedly said:

“The club went to see Felix in action and it was all positive. He is seen as a real talent. He is definitely someone who is increasingly of interest. He is a clever playmaker and in a similar vein to Portugal legend Deco. The scouts saw him during the derby against Sporting Lisbon and he scored. There looks like there is going to be moves for him.”

Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, alongside some other unnamed big European clubs, have a reported interest in Felix. The 19-year-old is contracted at the Portuguese club until the summer of 2023 and there are suggestions that Benfica would like to tie him up to a new deal, inserting a massive release clause, which would make them a massive amount of money should any club decide to purchase him.

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To me, this seems to ring true about all the apparent interest in players over the years with Benfica just trying to tout talented players for as much as they could get for them, sometimes inserting big release clauses into contracts so the buying club had to spend big on a particular player. Felix has played 14 times for Benfica this season, once in the UEFA Champions League, scoring seven goal in total, all in the Portuguese Liga.

Felix may be a talented player but in terms of experience, this 19-year-old has very little, only playing in Portugal, not that it should be a criticism of him. I just cannot see the Glazers or Ed Woodward shelling out around £100 million on a prospect, even though he might fit in what that United is all about, focussing on youth, developing them and nurturing them into world stars, which is what United did with Cristiano Ronaldo when they signed him in 2003.

copyright: JW