Diego Simeone hopeful chelsea target Joao Felix will stay at Atletico Madrid this month


Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has played down talk of a rift with Joao Felix and insists the forward has a future at the club. Chelsea, Manchester United and arsenal have shown interest in signing the 23-year-old during the January transfer window with reports this week claiming Atletico will allow the player to leave on loan.

Felix joined the Spanish giants in 2019 from Benfica for a €127million fee but has struggled to develop into the star many predicted he would become under Diego Simeone. The Portugal international has started just five of Atletico’s 14 La Liga games this term with Atletico CEO Miguel Angel Gil Martin confirming earlier this month the player wishes to leave the Wanda Metropolitano. But in a press conference on Wednesday, Simeone insisted he still sees Felix as important to his team. He said:

‘We have a good working relationship. Since I have been at the club I have never left, beyond some differences that exist between people, and we can’t agree on everything, and I have looked for what is best for the clubuntil the last day. ‘Everyone is giving their maximum.” Simeone added: ‘What matters to me is the team and he is important to the team. ‘If he gives us what we saw in the World Cup, he will be very important. He has the condition and the talent and the team need his qualities.’

United are desperate to add to their attacking options with Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure heightening their need for more firepower. Erik ten Hag was eager to bring Cody Gakpo to the club but the Netherlands international is now set to complete a move to Liverpool.

United have discussed a move fort Felix with his agent Jorge Mendes but are reluctant to meet Atletico’s reported demands over a loan deal. The Spanish club are asking for an £8million loan fee with no obligation or option to purchase in the summer, also demanding for Felix’s entire salary, thought to be around £250,000-a-week, to be covered. Reports in Spain meanwhile suggest Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has expressed reservations over signing Felix.

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