Joao Felix has fallen from prominence at Atletico Madrid following the summer return of Antoine Griezmann and Manchester United have emerged as transfer contenders for the Portuguese forward
Manchester United are monitoring the situation of Atletico Madrid forward Joao Felix, whose future in the Spanish capital is increasingly uncertain, but the club should heed the words of Diego Simeone before making any moves.
The Portuguese became Atleti’s record club signing in the summer of 2019 when they landed him in an eye-catching £113million deal from Benfica.
Now aged 22, the forward has netted just 20 goals in 87 appearances for Diego Simeone’s side and has failed to nail down a regular starting spot.
While he and his teammates were given the day off after that match, Joao stayed in Portugal to go back to Lisbon to watch Benfica – with comments that fuelled rumours he was not happy in the Spanish capital.
He told reporters: “It’s good to be back (in Lisbon), I haven’t been here since I left.
“This is where it all started and it’s good to see the fans, the pitch, the people.
“It’s good to come home. I miss Benfica a lot.”
As per Spanish radio station Cadena Ser, the player wants to leave Atletico – with the summer arrivals of Antoine Griezmann and Matheus Cunha further reducing his opportunities.
The return of Griezmann was particularly significant – Joao Felix’s arrival two years ago was to replace the Frenchman in Simeone’s side but now he is playing second fiddle to him.
When asked directly about the Portuguese forward’s importance to Atleti in March, Simeone responded: “We are a team, not just one player.
“We need everyone’s contribution, for the team to function as a team so that individuals and talent can excel.
“Without desire, talent is not enough.
“We seek to have the desire to achieve our goals and the natural talent that all our players have allows us to do that.
“And João is a very important player for our team and he will surely do very well from here to the end.”
Speculation over the forward’s future intensified when he ended a goal drought at the end of February last season, angrily shouting “shut the f*** up” after the goal – although it is unclear who it was directed to.
Simeone said after that frustration was normal for someone who had “not scored for some time” before also adding that he wanted to have footballers who “rebelled”.
Speaking in the aftermath of those comments, the player replied: “Without the desire, talent is not enough.
“There are lots of examples of players who are very talented but lack something to make it to the top and I don’t want to be one of them, so I try to put my talent and my commitment at the service of the team.”
The 22-year-old remains many years from his reaching his potential peak and is one of the highest rated youngsters in world football but has struggled to adapt to Madrid.
It appears increasingly likely he may need a move away to find his best form with the Premier League the most likely destination.