Real Madrid have reportedly emerged as the front-runners to sign Benfica sensation Joao Felix, who is also a target for Manchester City and Manchester United.

As per an exclusive report from The Sun, Premier League giants Manchester City and Manchester United are set to be beaten in the race to sign teenage wonderkid Joao Felix from Benfica in the summer, with reigning European champions Real Madrid emerging as the favourites to land the 19-year-old.

Felix has emerged as one of the most sought-after young players across Europe after enjoying a breakthrough campaign at Benfica, So far in the 2018-19 campaign, the teenage sensation has featured in 33 matches across all competitions, coming up with impressive returns of 12 goals and 6 assists.

Able to play in a multitude of positions in the final third, the teenager has caught the eye with his sharp link-up play and the ability to chip in with goals on a consistent basis. So much so that Felix has been compared to former Manchester United and Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Felix’s rise to stardom hasn’t gone unnoticed with a number of clubs across Europe taking note. Most notably, Manchester United have been linked heavily with a move for the attacker, while local rivals and reigning Premier League champions Manchester City too are also interested in the teenager, with recent reports claiming that Pep Guardiola’s side were closing in on his signing.

Manchester United are in search of a new playmaker to add to their ranks ahead of the next season as they look to push for a title tilt. And with Juan Mata’s contract situation still unresolved, a player of Felix’s ilk could come in very handy for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, as he would bring a different flavour to what they already possess in their ranks.

Manchester City, on the other hand, are scouring the market for a long-term replacement for star playmaker David Silva. The Spaniard is 33 years old and will be out of contract in 2020, which has led the Cityzens to plan for the future. And Felix has emerged as a viable candidate on their radar.

While both the teams have been scouting Felix for quite a while now, they haven’t acted on the interest, which has allowed Real Madrid to sneak ahead of the Manchester teams in the chase for the highly-rated youngster.

Joao Felix - the next Ronaldo? (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images)

Joao Felix – the next Ronaldo? (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images)

The Merengues are planning a huge summer splurge with Zinedine Zidane back at the helm and see the attacking third as an area that needs to be reinforced. And with Gareth Bale’s future at the club surrounded by uncertainty, the Welshman’s potential departure could create a vacancy in the Real Madrid attack, which Felix can fill.

Felix is contracted with Benfica till the summer of 2023 and has a £105 million release clause in his existing deal. The Portuguese heavyweights are hoping to get him to pen a new contract and increase that sum to £130 million, the report adds.

Felix has certainly taken all of Europe by storm with his performances this season. And given the number of big clubs lining up to sign him, there is a strong possibility he could be on the move in the summer. It, however, remains to be see if Real Madrid will beat Manchester United and Manchester City to his signing.

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