It is a no-brainer that the relationship between Atlético and João Félix is dead and the best thing is for them to part ways, but the situation is very complicated.
The Portuguese striker has declared his love for Barça with an exclusive statement to Fabrizio Romano, an eminence in the transfer market, and has locked in his position: either land in Barcelona or stay at Atlético. A strategy probably drawn up by Jorge Mendes, handpicking Romano and looking for a move to FC Barcelona, where a style that benefits the player is played and whose president has already tried to sign João on several occasions.
Félix’s fit in Xavi Hernández’s scheme seems complicated. It is true that he is a player with a final pass, something that the Blaugrana technical secretariat is looking for in the market, but he is not a playmaker, but a striker. Another option is to place João on the left flank, playing as a Grealish-style left winger at Manchester City, but Barça are opting to place four midfielders and leave the left flank for the very fast Alejandro Balde.
In short, in order to fit the Atlético player, it would be necessary to change a scheme that has brought very good results for the Culés, without being sure that it would work with the inclusion of the former Benfica player.
On the other hand, the economic aspect is the big stumbling block in the operation. It must be assumed that João Félix isn’t a priority for FC Barcelona: they are looking for an inside player with a final pass and he is a striker. This possible signing is nothing more than a market opportunity.
Atlético made a big investment in the Portuguese when Griezmann left for Barça, which makes the red-and-white board unwilling to give their player away. As if that wasn’t enough, the Benfica youth product’s attitude towards his current club has been rather disappointing, with constant nastiness towards the institution and Simeone.
It is no secret that Barça’s financial situation is quite tricky, so they can’t afford to pay a transfer that meets Atlético’s expectations or the 15 million gross that the player earns. According to Fabrizio Romano, the striker wasn’t very concerned about the bad financial situation of the Catalan club, so it is understood that he accepts to reduce his salary, but the colchoneros do not want to lose a lot of money and have made this known to the culé board.
There is no doubt that this strategy to bring João Félix to Barça is measured to the millimetre, but that doesn’t ensure that it will happen. In fact, the operation seems to be cooling down. It wouldn’t make much sense for Barça to complicate their lives with a non-priority signing, but everything suggests that Xavi Hernández will have the last word. If it works out, the Portuguese striker will get his way, but if it doesn’t, a very long season awaits him in which, for the moment, he has no shirt.
Translated by Marcos Rodríguez.
Main image: @ChelseaFC.