Chelsea's Joao Felix conundrum and why Todd Boehly won't be rushed into transfer decision


There are very few signings in recent history that enraptured Chelsea supporters as much as when Joao Felix was brought in on a six-month loan deal in the January transfer window. It almost came out of nowhere. reported back in December that Chelsea had an interest in Felix and the club had sent scouts to watch him this season on numerous occasions.

But the speed the deal was completed at was absolutely staggering. Now, more than two months on from the Portugal international putting pen-to-paper on a six-month contract , Blues supporters are still desperate to know whether he will sign for the club on a permanent basis once his deal is up. It's understood there is no option or obligation for Chelsea to make the signing of Felix permanent, but that does not mean they will not be interested in doing so.

Felix signed an extension at Atletico Madrid just prior to his loan move to England, but again this does not mean his future is in the Spanish capital despite his contractual status. Atleti were keen to extend the 23-year-old's deal to protect his value if they were to offload him in the future, which understands is a real possibility. There are three major questions that need to be asked when addressing Felix's future.

Will Simeone remain at Atletico?

It's not a secret that Diego Simeone, Atletico's boss, and Felix do not see eye-to-eye. It was made very public, particularly in Spain, that the two had fallen out which led to wide speculation over the Portuguese attacker's future at the Madrid-based club.

However, there has also been plenty of speculation over whether Simeone will remain at Atletico after this current season. If the Argentine was to leave, then that might give Felix more of a chance of returning to Madrid and proving himself there; if that is indeed what he wants to do. Saying that, has been told by all accounts Felix is very settled and loves life at Chelsea.

Chelsea could look to use the managerial situation at the Spanish club to their advantage in this situation. If there is uncertainty over where the club is heading, then Felix could be persuaded to stay at Stamford Bridge for the long-term, but the fee comes into that – and that's what we will talk about next.

A potentially extortionate fee?

Atletico signed Felix in the summer of 2019 from Benfica for a whopping €127million, which equates to around £111million, which means the Spaniards will be keen to recoup as much as possible should they cash in on the Chelsea loanee. Naturally, the Blues will not want to spend a fee anywhere near the one seen three years ago.

By Felix signing a new contract with Atleti just before moving to Chelsea, that has put his parent club on the front foot when it comes to selling him because his value has been protected. However, unless Felix has an absolutely breathtaking remainder of the season at Stamford Bridge, then clubs would surely be unwilling to pay anywhere near the £100million-mark for the talented Portugal forward. Can Chelsea really justify spending that much on an attacker after bringing in the likes of Mykhailo Mudryk and Noni Madueke in January? That brings us nicely onto our next question...

Can Chelsea justify the fee?

Mudryk and Madueke came in over the January window, Raheem Sterling was signed for big money in the summer. Christopher Nkunku is going to be a Chelsea player at the end of the season. That's four attacking players on top of what the club already had at their disposal. We've seen co-owner Todd Boehly is not afraid of splashing the cash to improve Chelsea – in fact, he's very willing to do so. But even he might question the logic in doing so unless Felix can really prove he is worth that much in the next couple of months.

Felix has shown during his eight games – in all competitions – for Chelsea that he is technically exceptional. We probably already knew that, but his off-the-ball work has been impressive too. The role he is being used in at the moment, just off the striker alongside Kai Havertz on the other side, seems to really suit him. The Portugal international is someone who can play virtually anywhere across the front three so that is definitely an advantage for Graham Potter.

The Chelsea head coach, though, will be keen to see Felix stick in one position between now and the end of his loan spell to see if he really does have a long-term future at Stamford Bridge. The way Felix roams in between the opposition's midfield and defence really benefits Chelsea. Him and Havertz doing that gives them an extra layer of creativity and it's something that can break down low-blocks, something Chelsea have really struggled to do throughout the season.

Whether it's Sterling, versus Borussia Dortmund, or Mudryk, against Leicester City, distracting the centre-backs with how far they are pushed up, it allows the likes of Felix and Havertz to have a free-roaming role in between the lines. Felix has been superb at times since signing for Chelsea and a really, really entertaining footballer to watch but he needs to maintain that – and probably do a bit more – in order for the Blues to justify making his loan deal permanent in the summer.

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