Atletico Madrid set to smash their transfer record with €120m purchase of Joao Felix

Mega money for a mega talent

Atletico Madrid are expected to be busy in the transfer market this summer, with Diego Simeone's men in the market for a number of new recruits.

Los Rojiblancos have already allowed Diego Godin (free), Juanfran (free) and Lucas Hernandez (€80m) to depart, whilst Rodri (€70m) and Antoine Griezmann (€120m) are expected to make big money departures over the coming weeks which will give them some serious cash to spend in the window.

Atleti finished 11 points behind Barcelona in La Liga last summer and they'll need to be successful in the market if they're to cut that gap, which has led to them making this huge transfer.

Antoine Griezmann's move to Barca looks like it's just a matter of time before it's completed and it appears that Simeone has already secured his replacement, in young Benfica prodigy Joao Felix.

The 19 year-old has shot to prominence this season after a superb breakthrough campaign with the Liga NOS outfit, where he netted 20 goals in 43 appearances in all competitions - including 15 in 26 (21 starts) league apppearances.

Joao Felix Benfica
Joao Felix was arguably the breakthrough star of the 2018/19 season in world football, netting 20 goals in all competitions which included a hat-trick in the Europa League quarter-finals against Eintracht Frankfurt in April

He's been linked with several elite clubs around Europe and was expected to move to the Premier League, but it now appears that Madrid is going to be his next destination.

Benfica have stood firm on their latest young talent with them refusing to budge on their outrageous asking price of €120m (£107.5m). This is his release clause and it looks like Simeone has given the green light for Atletico to cough it up.

Should this deal get over the line as expected, it will blow their previous transfer record (Thomas Lemar, £57m, 2018) right out of the water and it'll put enormous pressure on the youngsters shoulders.

He's only played 44 games of senior football in his career so to make the jump to a club that's challenging for major honours and playing in the Champions League is a huge challenge and it's a ridiculously big gamble by Atletico.

He's being brought in as Antoine Griezmann's replacement, a man who scored 20+ goals in all competitions in each of his 5 seasons in the Spanish capital so he has enormous boots to fill - can he do it?

A huge gamble, but one that could really pay off

Atletico Madrid's modern history has been full of star strikers that have gone onto to achieve big things. Fernando Torres, Sergio Aguero, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa, Diego Forlan, Antoine Griezmann - the list goes on. But will they soon have another name to add to that illustrious list?

Joao Felix has proven for Benfica that he has the potential to reach the dizzying heights that this group of elite forwards have and even more, after dazzling in his first season of senior football.

Back in his native Portugal he's seen as the heir to the Ronaldo throne which is tremendous praise and highlights just how big his talent is, hence why Atletico have will have to fork €120m to get their man.

But the pressure that'll come with that price tag and the man he's replacing will be like nothing he's ever experienced before in his short career. Atletico will be losing a lot of goals when Griezmann inevitably departs so he will need to come in and hit the ground running - something which some of Simeone's attacking signings in recent seasons have struggled to do.

Antoine Griezmann Atletico Madrid
Along with the pressure of being the clubs record transfer and one of the most expensive players in the history of the game, Felix will also have the added pressure of replacing Atletico's talisman and leading goalscorer, Antoine Griezmann

The likes of Angel Correa, Nikola Kalinic, Jackson Martinez, Luciano Vietto, Yannick Carrasco & Thomas Lemar were all recruited by the Argentine and have struggled to really produce what was expected of them. Felix will need to buck that trend.

Simeone is widely renowned for being the best defensive coach in the game, with his Atletico notoriously difficult to beat. This leads to them playing a very rigid 4-4-2 which requires work rate, organisation and discipline if it's to work. Felix proved last season that he's tactically flexible but if he's to really go on and succeed in Spain, he needs to be given a free role and the license to express himself.

This hasn't been afforded to too many players during Simeone's time at the helm, with Griezmann the main focal point in attack. But with him now approaching the exit door and the club in need of a new talisman, he could be given this luxury and it could really be the making of 19 year-old.

Diego Simeone Atletico Madrid
Simeone has done an absolutely incredible job since taking over as Atletico boss in 2011, but he may need to afford Felix freedom in attack if he's to go on and flourish like he has in Portugal

Just like the Frenchmen, he arrives as a versatile forward who can play anywhere across the forward line which will make him a valuable asset. But Atletico fans will want him to make the transition into a centre forward just like his predecessor did when he joined from Real Sociedad in 2014. And if he can do it to the same effect, they'll have a real player on their hands.

Joining a big club, replacing a world class striker, costing an unbelievably big fee and being just 19 years of age, all eyes will be on Joao Felix in the upcoming season and if he can make an instant impact, he could become a real legend for Atletico Madrid and dominate for years to come.


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