Should Chelsea make Joao Felix a permanent addition? is just one of several difficult decisions the club must face in the coming months.
Chelsea Online News:
23-year-old Joao Felix arrived in January on loan from Atletico Madrid for the remainder of the year.
The La Liga club and Chelsea will have to agree on a price because there was no provision in the arrangement for an option or obligation to buy. He won’t be cheap, but there aren’t many high-caliber foreign players.
Joao Felix is unquestionably an exceptional talent and has shown enough in his few Chelsea games to establish himself as the most entertainingly talented forward to call Stamford Bridge home since Eden Hazard left in 2019. But, when assessing options for a decision this important, player quality is simply one aspect to take into account.
Without a doubt, purchasing Joao Felix permanently would be a huge, and by huge, I mean expensive, move. It went somewhat unnoticed when he extended his contract with Atletico Madrid before completing his loan move to Chelsea in January, but it means he will have four years left on the contract this summer.
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There is no specified clause in the loan deal that would enable Chelsea to sign him, and Atletico have not specified a certain price range at which they would be open to selling. The buyout clause in Joao Felix’s contract, which is a requirement for all La Liga players, is reportedly set at €350 million (£307.2m; $371.4m), making it more of a barrier than an invitation.
Atletico paid €126 million to acquire him from Benfica in 2019 and retain strong contractual leverage over a player who is still only 23, so it is reasonable to assume they would expect to recoup a large portion of that transfer fee in any sale — particularly in light of the spending that Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital have approved over the past two transfer windows. However, Chelsea would not need to offer anything close to that amount.
Without taking into account Joao Felix’s salary, which is well over £200,000 a week, he would fall into the top ranks of Chelsea’s wage structure, which Boehly and Clearlake are working to reduce to a more manageable level. To ensure his departure from Atletico, he might be willing to take a wage reduction, but that is not how most top footballers or their agents operate.
But even if a deal to sign Joao Felix can be reached, is he truly what Chelsea needs the most? Future windows will see a reduction in the transfer investment made by Boehly and Clearlake. If resources are now limited, other areas of the pitch must obviously take precedence: a true No. 9 or a reliable midfield partner for Enzo Fernandez, or a new goalkeeper.
Finally, is there a functional, balanced formation that can maximize the contributions of Mykhailo Mudryk, Joao Felix, Christopher Nkunku, and Kai Havertz in a single team? Is this collection of attackers who aren’t quite strikers a recipe for a lavishly expensive final third unit that is less than the sum of its parts?
The most crucial thing is that technical players Havertz and Fernandez and Joao Felix are developing a positive understanding. Why separate such a strong trio?
Things will undoubtedly only get better between them as the season continues, and more importantly, they will be prepared to work together from the start of the following campaign. There are still at least two more months of the season to enjoy.
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