Aston Villa join Arsenal in the race to sign Portugal star Joao Felix

Aston Villa have emerged as a surprise landing spot for wantaway Atletico Madrid star Joao Felix.

Felix, who joined Atletico for a club record, £113 million fee, is reportedly looking to leave the Spanish giants – and has England in his sights.

Comments from Atletico CEO Miguel Angel Gil Marin have also added to speculation about the 23-year-old’s future.

“I personally think he’s a top talent, a world-class player,” said Marin, via The Athletic. “But, for reasons not worth getting into – the relationship between him and the boss, minutes played, his motivation right now… It makes you think that the reasonable thing is that if there’s an option that’s good for the player and club, we can look at it.

“I’d love him to stay, personally, but I don’t think that’s the player’s idea.”

As a result of the CEO’s admission, a number of Premier League clubs have the attacker on their radar. Most notably, transfer expert David Ornstein reports that Aston Villa are pushing to sign Joao Felix.

Felix’s agent, Jorge Mendes, has a rapport with the Villa hierarchy – so he favours a move there, too. The two parties built this bond after Mendes facilitated Unai Emery’s deal to become the Villan’s manager.

Aston Villa will face competition from Europe’s elite for Felix, though, who will likely cost around £85 million.

Arsenal “leading the race” for Aston Villa target Joao Felix

Despite Mendes’ desire to see Felix in the West Midlands, reports in Spain say a London club are at the front of the queue.

Per MARCA, Premier League frontrunners Arsenal are leading the fight for Felix’s signature. The Gunners may indeed move for a striker, especially after the devastating Gabriel Jesus injury news. Jesus is out for a while due to surgery on an injury picked up during the World Cup.  

Similarly, Man United are another club that could try and lure Joao Felix to the Premier League, per The Mirror. Now that Ronaldo has left, the Portuguese forward could replace CR7 at both club and country – if United want to sign him.

Finally, reports last month claimed that PSG were tempted to make a move for Felix, too. Should he leave in January, Joao Felix will bring a three-and-a-half-year stint in Spain to an end.

Felix’s time at Atletico Madrid

When he signed for Atletico Madrid in 2019, Felix became the third-most expensive player ever. This, obviously, came with a lot of pressure for him, as he was still a teenager at the time.

His first season in Madrid (2019/20) saw Felix score nine goals in 36 appearances across all competitions. Felix then improved this in 2020/21, scoring 10 times and getting six assists as Atletico won La Liga that season.

Overall, the Portuguese star has 33 goals and 18 assists in 129 appearances for the Spanish giants. So, why did he decide to leave?

According to the Daily Mail, Felix wants out due to a breakdown in his relationship with Diego Simeone. The Atletico boss and his player did not see eye-to-eye, with a number of incidents causing problems.

For instance, Felix was apparently unhappy when Simeone did not bring him on as a sub during a Champions League game. The player was angry about this as Simeone had told him to warm up three times – but did not sub him on.

Despite this, many of Europe’s elite are still interested in the Portugal star. After an impressive World Cup, Joao Felix appears to have a selection of suitors to choose from.

Featured image credit: Getty