Manchester City have moved one step closer in the pursuit of Joao Felix, who has been also courted by Manchester United, Juventus and Real Madrid.
According to The Sun, Manchester City’s sporting director Txiki Begiristain flew to Lisbon last week to presumably hold talks with Benfica’s hierarchy regarding the potential transfer of Joao Felix, while super agent Jorge Mendes was also present during the club’s 3-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb in the UEFA Europa League.
As a result, City are believed to be in pole position to secure the services of the Portuguese whizkid in the summer amid interest from Manchester United, Juventus and Real Madrid.
Felix reportedly has a staggering release clause of £105 million embedded in his contract with Benfica, which will expire in 2023. Although the fee may seem far too extravagant for a player who made his professional breakthrough earlier this season, it’s a risk Manchester City are likely to take as they look to find a long-term replacement for David Silva.
Indeed, the Spaniard is in the final phase of his career and will turn 34 midway through next season while Pep Guardiola has also struggled with injuries to star players like Kevin de Bruyne, further accentuating the need for another attacking midfielder this summer.
Felix, to that end, could be an excellent option for the Sky Blues for a number of reasons.
As iterated earlier, the 19-year-old has made his professional breakthrough with Benfica this campaign, scoring ten goals in just 18 league matches. He has also mustered five assists, making him the sixth most productive attacker in the Portuguese top flight this season.
Felix’s sublime technique and composure with the ball coupled with his vision allows him not only to create chances in the final third but also build the tempo of the game, which tunes in perfectly with Guardiola’s tactical philosophy at Manchester City.
Furthermore, the youngster is also a versatile attacker, who can feature anywhere across the attack, including the false-nine role, thus providing Guardiola with more options in terms of tactical choices in the final third. This could be beneficial especially for Manchester City, who have had to deal with a host of injury-related issues to their key attackers this season.
As for Manchester United, who are likely to be beaten by their cross-town rivals in the pursuit of Felix this summer, missing out on the youngster could be a blessing in disguise for the Premier League giants.
Unlike Manchester City, United are currently lacking resources in the attacking department, especially with the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Juan Mata failing to make an impression in the first-team. Thus, it would perhaps be wiser for the Red Devils to shift their attention to a much more proven attacker, who can instantly make an impact at Old Trafford next season.