Atletico's Unwanted Joao Felix Has Something To Offer At Barca Or Liverpool

The ex-Chelsea star watched his team win 7-0 without him
17:00, 29 Aug 2023

Joao Felix cost Atletico Madrid a club record £113 million when he joined from Benfica in July 2019. Still only a teenager, he had scored 15 goals in 26 league games for the Portuguese side. The fee was huge, but Atleti were investing in a player set to go all the way to the top.

This past Monday, Atletico beat Rayo Vallecano 7-0 away from home. It was a statement win. But perhaps the biggest statement manager Diego Simeone made with this victory was not selecting Felix. While his team were doling out an eye-catching battering, Felix’s future hung in the balance.


Felix helped fire Atleti to the 2020/21 La Liga title. A year later he picked up the club’s Player of the Season award. But those days feel awfully distant now. Such was the disconnect between player and club, Felix spent the second half of last season on loan at Chelsea. A bust-up with Simeone reached fever pitch when the player was sent to warm up three times during a Champions League tie with Club Brugge, before being left on the bench. 

Felix’s Stamford Bridge tenure ended up like his most recent Atleti period. Moments of sublime brilliance punctuated by erratic form and moments of madness. He was sent off on his debut in a 2-1 defeat to Fulham, but not before his performance had Blues fans purring. 

There is enough goodwill for Felix to have at least been considered as part of Chelsea’s mammoth summer buying spree. That looks unlikely to happen, but that doesn’t mean nobody wants the Portugal international. Barcelona has looked like his likeliest destination for much of the window. But as with any Barcelona transfer these days, with player registration and wages a constant issue, a move to Camp Nou is not guaranteed. 

Should Felix not move to the Catalan giants, a transfer to a Saudi Pro League club has been mooted. It would be more surprising if the star-hungry league wasn’t interested in the 23-year-old at this point. But a shock suitor has also emerged. Apparently Liverpool are eyeing a move for Felix, particularly if Mohamed Salah completes his own move to Saudi.


On the surface, it is surprising to see Jurgen Klopp going after a player who didn’t exactly set the Premier League alight. But it is easy to forget given his supremacy since that Salah was also a player who had failed to ignite at Chelsea before moving to Anfield. The west London club is not necessarily a litmus test in these situations, particularly coming off a chaotic season where they had four different managers and finished 12th. 

What Klopp brings is security in leadership. He has his feet firmly under the Melwood table and clear theories on how he wants to play. If he is targeting Felix, it is because he can genuinely see the Portuguese player fitting into his system. Remember, Felix is only 23 years of age. He has shown an immense natural talent but has lacked consistency. If Klopp can mould him through the last of his formative football years and steer him into his physical prime, we could see the player we were always promised.

We are unlikely to see that player at Metropolitano Stadium again. Simeone and Felix are unlikely to resolve their issues and there were seven reasons displayed this weekend as to why they don’t need each other. There is still a player within Joao Felix to be unlocked. Simeone won’t be the one to unlock him. Could Xavi? Dare it be said, could Jurgen Klopp?

Suggested Searches:
The Sportsman
Manchester United
Manchester City
Premier League
Sportsman HQ
72-76 Cross St
Manchester M2 4JG
We will not ask you to provide any personal information when using The Sportsman website. You may see advertisement banners on the site, and if you choose to visit those websites, you will accept the terms and conditions and privacy policy applicable to those websites. The link below directs you to our Group Privacy Policy, and our Data Protection Officer can be contacted by email at: [email protected]

All original material is Copyright © 2019 by The Sportsman Communications Ltd.
Other material is copyright their respective owners.