Joao Felix passes his audition and turns heads against Man Utd ahead of summer transfer window – Emmet Gates


One of the great delights in football is watching a single individual light up a game. Even if it’s an opposing player, seeing a player take full command of a game and pull the strings can be a joy to behold.

Joao Felix did just that in Man United’s 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid. Now that’s not to say that Felix alone was the standout player for Diego Simeone’s side because many Atleti players stood out (Geoffrey Kondogbia and Renan Lodi, to name two others), but it was Felix who you felt was making things happen.

Playing slightly behind Angel Correa in Simeone’s 3-5-2 system, Felix was operating as a second striker, linking the play between the midfield and attack. At times, he would drop deep and seek the ball, which caused issues for United, as no one was tracking Felix, with Fred and Paul Pogba in the double pivot looking increasingly bemused and lacking communication on who should be picking him up.

Goal aside, Felix probed and prodded at United’s defense throughout the game, clearly relishing his position and his new-found confidence in what has been a tricky period for the player.

Many even felt that Felix would leave in January.

The marriage between Simeone and Felix hasn’t always been idyllic. Felix recently commented to The Athletic regarding the reigning La Liga Champions dip in form this season.

“I don’t know. There are a lot of reasons, and I can’t tell you one,” Felix said. “We know what is happening, but I prefer not to talk about it.”

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Simeone, in his usual no-nonsense manner, replied to Felix’s remark, saying:

“About what Joao said, you can ask him,” Simeone said. “‘I work according to the team. If he is clear about what the problem is, it would be good to know.”

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Felix’s move to Atleti hasn’t been what many expected when he made the switch less than three years ago. Yet even from the outset, it seemed an odd move. Felix’s nimble and lightweight frame seemed ill-suited to Simeone’s rough-and-tumble brand of football.

He had been linked with a move away last summer and in the recent January transfer window but has remained in the Spanish capital.

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This season, he’s scored three La Liga goals from 17 appearances, but only seven of them have been from the start. His beautifully-taken goal against United was his first in the Champions League this season.

Selected ahead of Luis Suarez and Antione Griezmann for the United game, Felix justified Simeone’s decision with one of his best performances since joining. With tensions still simmering between coach and player, United should keep an eye on the situation as the summer nears. His contract with him does not expire until June 2026, but should the situation not improve before the end of the season. Then a move could be best for all concerned.

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With United in need of rejuvenating their attack next season, Felix could be an option. And if he produces another wonderful display at Old Trafford in the second leg, it could be enough to see United prepare a bid for the 22-year-old.

Do you think Manchester United should sign Joao Felix? Get involved in the discussion in the comments section below.




www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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