With Manchester United’s interest in Joao Felix tapering off, Arsenal are now ready to step up their pursuit of the Atletico Madrid forward in the ongoing January transfer window.
This claim comes from Sam Dean of The Telegraph, who states that the Gunners will ramp up their efforts to sign Felix, although any move would depend on the size of the loan fee that Atletico demand for the 23-year-old.
Felix joined the Rojiblancos back in the summer of 2019 in a deal worth €126 million. He has made over 100 appearances for the Spanish giants but has failed to live up to the expectations while his relationship with Diego Simeone has strained in recent months.
It has resulted in Felix seeking an exit this month, with his agent, Jorge Mendes, working hard to find a way out for the Portuguese international.
Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United had all been credited with serious interest in the former SL Benfica starlet. All three clubs are in need of a forward and are capable of meeting his lofty wages.
However, Chelsea are currently focused on their efforts to sign midfielder Enzo Fernandez, while Manchester United have deemed the asking price for Felix too high.
After all, Atletico Madrid are seeking a loan fee of €15 million for the 23-year-old while also wanting the interested parties to cover his wages for the remainder of the season, which would come up to around €6 million.
It has become an impediment in Felix’s search for an exit, although Arsenal are now willing to step up their pursuit of the young Portuguese ace.
But, once again, any move will depend on the fee that Atletico Madrid will ask to loan out their forward. It is unlikely that Mikel Arteta’s side would be open to shelling out the €21 million package to sign the player for just six months. So, a compromise will be needed for the deal to go through.
Atletico Madrid midfielder on the derby against Real Madrid: “Very difficult to beat them”
Following a 1-1 draw in their Champions League opener against Lazio, Atletico Madrid will shift all their attention to La Liga, as they brace themselves for the derby against Real Madrid this weekend.
Heading into this game, Atleti midfielder Marcos Llorente spoke about Real Madrid’s quality and Atletico Madrid’s chances of squeezing all three points from this iconic derby.
Llorente on Madrid derby
“The sensations are good. The team is very good, the other day we played a great game despite ending up drawing. I really think that the team did a great job that must be maintained for this match,” Llorente said in an interview with Diario AS.
When asked whether or not Real Madrid being tagged as favourites could aid Atleti, the midfielder said, “Honestly, it neither motivates me nor demotivates me. We simply have to do what we work on during the week, what the coach asks of us.”
Llorente stressed the importance of the game, adding, “It is a great rival we have in front of us, they are having a very good start to the season and that motivates me and everyone to try to play a good game.”
“Real Madrid is a great club, they have great players and it is very difficult to beat them. I think we have competed, we have also achieved several draws, but in the end, either you go out one hundred percent and do things very, very well or it is difficult to beat them,” he added.
A former member of the Real Madrid youth academy, Llorente joined Atletico Madrid in 2019. Since then, he has racked up over 150 competitive appearances for Los Colchoneros.
Llorente, though, said he feels no sense of vindication when he performs well against his former team.
“No. In the end, it’s been many years since I left there and I’m at Atlético. Perhaps in the first years, those types of feelings and sensations can arise, but today they no longer do,” he said.
Llorente on Vinicius, Koke & Bellingham
The Atletico Madrid star went on to talk about other aspects of the game, including the fact that his team had one less player every time they faced Real Madrid last season.
“I have zero worries. These are things that are not in our remit, that escape our hands. We play football, the referees referee and those who have to decide decide,” he said.
Llorente, in fact, said that the return of Koke could be a real boost for Atleti. “It is always good that Koke is with us, both on the field and in the day-to-day life of the game,” he said.
“Beyond the grass. The support he gives, the advice he gives us, his experience. it is always important to have him and it is great news that he is already training with us,” he added.
Talking about the absence of Vinicius Junior and the form of Jude Bellingham, Llorente said, “Well, you have to be careful with everyone. All Real Madrid players are very good and can make a difference at any moment of the game. Bellingham is having a great start and we have to take that into account and be very focused.”
Finally, Marcos Llorente put out a message for all the Atletico Madrid fans, claiming their support ahead of this crucial encounter this weekend.
“It will be a full house as always. We don’t have to tell them anything, they know the importance of this match for Atlético, we know that they never fail, they are always supporting us and we count on them,” he said.