EXCLUSIVE: Benfica confident of sensational Joao Felix deal but face Aston Villa competition

Peter Staunton
  • Updated: 4 Jul 2024 09:57 CDT
  • 4 min read
Joao Felix, Transfers Podcast

Benfica are increasingly confident that they can complete a deal to re-sign the most expensive player ever bought by a Spanish club, Joao Felix of Atletico Madrid, The Transfers Podcast can reveal.

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However, the Primeira Liga giants could face competition from Premier League side Aston Villa, whose manager Unai Emery is an admirer of the Portugal international.

Joao Felix, 24, joined Diego Simeone’s side from his boyhood club Benfica back in 2019 for a €127.2 million fee - then the fourth highest transfer fee in history.

The move hasn’t worked out for Joao Felix, although he can count himself as a LaLiga champion having been part of the team that won the 2020/21 title.

He signed a seven-year contract upon his arrival in the Spanish capital but had to endure loan moves in successive seasons after his relationship with Simone began to deteriorate around 2021.

Chelsea brought the Portugal forward on loan for the latter half of the 2022/23 season but ultimately opted against making the deal permanent.

READ MORE: Premier League summer transfers 2024 - All the Done Deals

Last season, Joao Felix completed a dream move to Barcelona, albeit on loan, and renewed his Atletico deal for another two seasons.

He scored 10 goals in 44 matches overall for the Blaugrana but slipped down Xavi’s pecking order as the season drew to a close.

While he is keen to remain in Catalonia, Barca are beset by financial issues and currently do not have the means to register players, let alone complete any incoming transfer business this summer.

Joao Felix is now seriously considering a proposal from Benfica for a deal which would land him back at the club where he made his name.

Joao Felix to leave Atletico Madrid?

“The club will do whatever Simeone wants including get rid of Joao Felix,” Spanish football expert Guillem Balague tells The Transfers Podcast.

“He doesn't want him back. Joao Felix doesn't want to go back to Atletico Madrid either.

“I'm also hearing that he will wait perhaps a little bit longer to see if anybody else approaches him and that going back to Portugal may seem like a step back.

“It actually could be a place where he can recover some of his confidence, project some of his talent and maybe with the lessons of the last few years find some kind of consistency.”

Benfica are offering an initial €32.5 million for 50 percent of Joao Felix’s future transfer rights. The deal would be a full transfer but Atletico would be entitled to 50 percent of the return of his next move.

The Lisbon side are also ready to gradually increase their share of his future transfer rights throughout the duration of his contract.

Joao Felix is taking his time to decide with Villa one of the other clubs who have expressed an interest in taking him on board.

Having sorted out their financial issues, Villa appear to have the headroom required to make the signing this summer.

“They could be a competitor for Benfica and that may be a more attractive move to Felix,” Duncan Castles tells The Transfers Podcast.

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