Jorge Mendes has reportedly offered Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix to Manchester United as a potential January replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo.
Portugal international Felix is currently on international duty at the World Cup, where Ronaldo is one of his international teammates. Ronaldo, who began a second spell with United in the summer of 2021, left the club by mutual agreement shortly after an explosive interview in which he criticised many figures associated with the club.
Felix, meanwhile, has failed to hit the heights expected by some since joining Atletico Madrid in a club-record move from Benfica in 2019. He is still likely to fetch a substantial fee, though, with reports on the continent suggesting United would have to fork out £85m to get a deal over the line.
According to Sport, Felix can no longer tolerate his treatment at the hands of Atleti boss Diego Simeone. The 23-year-old hasn’t started a game in LaLiga since the Madrid derby on September 18, but he was still able to score three goals in just 54 minutes on the pitch across his last two league outings.
The forward is said to be looking for a way out, but the £85m price tag limits his options. The same publication suggests United are one of three potential clubs in the mix, along with Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.
Atleti themselves have dropped out of the Champions League, a competition in which they beat United in the 2021-22 season. Simeone’s team finished bottom of their group with just five points from six games, so will not even drop into the Europa League.
United themselves are still in the Europa League, after finishing second in their group behind Real Sociedad. They are due to take on Barcelona in a play-off round for a spot in the last 16, and could dip into the market to replace Ronaldo, who scored twice in the group stage.
The links come amid suggestions from former Manchester United forward Diego Forlan that Felix needs to leave the Wanda Metropolitano. Forlan, who also played for Atleti, suggested the former Benfica man needs a change of scenery to fulfil his potential.
“Joao Felix is a very good player, he is young and has a lot of quality,” Forlan told reporters in Qatar, as translated by Goal. “They paid a lot of money for him and he has not been playing as expected, but he is still very young.
“There are reports coming out about the possibility of him leaving Atletico and, if he leaves, he could even increase his performance. I believe in that. It happens a lot. It happened, for example, with Philippe Coutinho, who played very little at Inter and when he went to Liverpool he improved a lot.”