Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has indicated that FC Barcelona could make a move for his winger Joao Felix.
In an interview on Spanish radio station COPE's El Partidazo de COPE programme on Thursday night, Simeone discussed the future of his star player.
Felix, who was acquired for a hefty €126 million fee from Benfica in 2019, is currently on loan at Chelsea. However, with Mauricio Pochettino taking over as Chelsea's coach, it appears that the Blues will not pursue a permanent deal, potentially placing Felix back on the market.
"Joao is our player. If Chelsea don't want to sign him, as Pochettino seems to have decided, he will have to come back and he will be part of our team," insisted Simeone, addressing the Portuguese winger's situation.
Simeone expressed his belief in Felix's immense quality, stating, "He has enormous quality. It will be however he wants it to be. He is an Atletico Madrid player, I am compatible and I have no problem with anyone. He has always shown quality." This statement contradicts earlier reports of clashes between Simeone and the 23-year-old player.
Regarding the possibility of a transfer, Simeone said, "We have to assess if Joao's departure would be financially beneficial for the club, but that decision is not up to me."
Barcelona have previously been linked with Felix, and their president, Joan Laporta, is known to admire the forward, who is represented by Laporta's associate, super agent Jorge Mendes.
Simeone acknowledged that Felix would be an "important player" at Camp Nou due to Barcelona's style of play under Xavi Hernandez. However, the financial aspect presents a significant hurdle for the Catalan club.
Atletico Madrid, known for not selling to Barcelona at discounted prices, would seek to recoup a substantial portion of the €126 million they invested in Felix. Even if they were willing to negotiate around €80 million, it would still be a considerable challenge for Barcelona, particularly as they are currently focused on convincing La Liga that they can afford Lionel Messi's potential return.
Moreover, if Barcelona were to have the necessary funds, they might prefer to pursue Felix's international teammate Bernardo Silva at Manchester City instead, according to sources close to Xavi Hernandez and the club.
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