Chelsea are poised to beat Premier League rivals Arsenal and Manchester United to the loan signing of Joao Felix and Fabrizio Romano has the inside story of this transfer coup.
Blues owner Todd Boehly is keen to bolster manager Graham Potter’s injury-hit squad, who have slipped to 10th in the Premier League after a disastrous run of form and were hammered 4-0 by Manchester City in the FA Cup on Sunday.
Felix became the fifth most expensive player in history in 2019 after Atletico Madrid paid Benfica £113million for his services while the player was still a teenager.
But he’s fallen out of favour with Atletico manager Diego Simeone in the years since and was made available for transfer in the January transfer window.
Despite his Madrid struggles, Felix remains an incredibly talented player. The 23-year-old also played for Portugal at the World Cup and scored one goal in five outings at the Qatar-hosted tournament.
The urgency with which Chelsea have pushed for Felix accelerated after injuries to Raheem Sterling, Christian Pulisic, Armando Broja and most recently Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
This was enough to convince the club to gazump Arsenal and Manchester United for Felix’s signature and it’s believed they will pay about €10m (£8.8million) to borrow him. No buy option is expected to be included.
Romano has provided details of the move in his latest YouTube video. “Chelsea are really close to the loan signing of Joao Felix from Atletico Madrid,” the Italian journalist said. “The agreement is really, really close.”
“This isn’t too surprising as Chelsea already had conversations with Jorge Mendes [the player’s agent] a few weeks ago, they spoke about Felix but decided to focus on other positions.
“But, after their many injuries and bad results, the board have decided to help Graham Potter and bring him some freshness in the attacking positions by proceeding with Felix.
“Atletico Madrid will win in this situation as they’ve always asked for a very big fee. Neither Arsenal or Manchester United wanted to pay more than €15million between taxes, loan fee and salary until the end of the season.
“But Chelsea have decided to proceed. They said ‘Yes’ to all the conditions, so they will pay a loan fee for Felix and they will cover his salary until the end of the season.
“Also, they will pay the taxes of the deal. So everything is almost close to being agreed between Chelsea and Atletico Madrid. They still need to clarify a few final points but the deal is almost done.”