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Atlético warn João Félix he won’t be undersold

João Félix is happy in London and doesn’t want to return to Atlético. But would Chelsea be willing to meet Atleti’s asking price?

João Félix with Enzo Fernández, in a Chelsea match.
James Williamson - AMAGetty

João Félix is happy at Chelsea. The Portuguese forward feels important in the English team, where he is getting regular playing time (he has been in the starting XI whenever he has been available to play). Chelsea fans are also delighted with him. A change of scenery, as the player himself freely admits, has done him the world of good. He is to return to Atlético when his loan expires at the end of this season although Chelsea appear determined to reach a permanent deal so that he can stay.

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Atlético however, would not be prepared to sell João Félix on the cheap. They paid 127 million euros for him and know that he is still a player with a great future ahead of him. The player does not particularly want to go back to work under Simeone and Atlético have been doing well without him. Both have ended up winning from the loan deal. For El Cholo, João Félix’s departure was a weight off his shoulders and Memphis has adapted well to Atlético’s game in the meantime - to the point of becoming first-choice to lead Atleti’s attack.

Six-figure fee

Atlético will want to get a significant fee for João Félix - over 100 million euros. An amount in line with the player’s quality. But for Chelsea to make such a big outlay, João Félix has to improve and become more decisive for the team. Atlético know about the player’s intentions, but also send a clear message: they will not give the player away. So as things stand, João Félix is playing a large part of his options to continue at Chelsea in this final stretch of the season. He has important games ahead to show he is worth investing in - among them, the Champions League tie against Real Madrid.

He has scored two goals for Chelsea in the seven Premier League games he has played in. He found the net against West Ham and Everton. Let’s not forget that he had to serve a three-game in the Premier League after being sent off in his debut. In the Champions League, he has played two games, the Last 16 tie against Borussia Dortmund, but did not score in either game.

The feeling is that Chelsea’s game suits his way of playing and understanding football. It is not the first time, and possibly not the last, that he has sent messages in this regard. Chelsea are struggling in the Premier League (they are 10th on 38 points) and now look unlikely to finish in one of the European berths. Winning the Champions League is their only lifeline.

Atlético are happy to sit and wait. Everyone is interested in João Félix doing well in England. The player would vindicate himself and Atleti would end up recouping most of the money they laid out for him in 2019. But it’s clear that he needs to improve. That is the only way he can rid himself of Simeone for good.