Joao Felix To Return To Benfica?
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Joao Felix To Return To Benfica?

04/07/24 17:01

Benfica are trying to bring back their former youngster Joao Felix in spectacular fashion and have, according to Duncan Castles, who Football Park rate as a tier three in reliability, put through an offer of €32.5m for 50% of his rights to buy him from Atletico Madrid.

While Benfica and Atletico seem willing to make a transfer happen, it looks like Felix himself will decide on his future and whether he wants to return to the club where he started his career and where his market value skyrocketed.

In his first and only season for Benfica’s first team in 2018, the forward scored 20 goals and got 11 assists - an impressive run which ended with him leaving the club for €128m to play at Atletico.

Since then, his journey in professional football has been rather difficult with many ups and downs.

No future for Felix at Atletico

After Atletico’s record signing, making Felix the most expensive player the club ever bought, the expectations were high and maybe they were a little too high for the then 19-year-old.

It seemed like he never really got going and showed his full qualities under manager Diego Simeone.

In an interview with Benfica Play a few years ago he confessed:

“Now I see how happy I was at Benfica. I plan to return one day and leave my mark on the club.”

After years of not being able to unleash his full potential, Felix went on loan to Chelsea in 2023 for a fee of €11m where he played 16 games for the Blues but only scored four goals. It seemed like another club where it did not look like improvement for the striker.

The past season, Felix went on loan to FC Barcelona and again - only partly impressed. Despite playing 30 games for Barça, he only scored seven goals and managed just three assists.

Felix could stay at Barcelona but the current financial situation of the club is showing to be a bigger issue than expected which is the reason why the Portuguese international’s future is still uncertain.

If you compare any of this to the performance he offered at Benfica, it is impossible to believe that he has found back to his youthful potential.

Felix last extended his contract with the Colchoneros in 2023 and signed another six year deal. Regardless, it is safe to say that he will not stay with the Spanish side until 2029.

Recent transfer rumours

In recent years, Felix and Atletico have turned down multiple offers from big clubs like Bayern Munich and Manchester United.

These two teams in particular, seemed very interested in signing the striker in 2022:

Chelsea have put in an offer for €80m to permanently sign him and Barcelona offered €70m beforehand.

None of these transfers went through which, looking back, is a wasted opportunity for Atletico who definitely missed out on quite a bit of money as Felix’ estimated market value, according to Transfermarkt, has dropped drastically to €30m.

The other team, besides Benfica, which is interested in signing Felix are Aston Villa but unless they do not offer more money, it is likely that the 24-year-old would prefer his ex-club to the Premier League side.

A wasted talent?

When he left Benfica he deserved the attention he received but it is equally fair to say that since then he has been majorly underperforming. While still playing a part in the Portuguese national team, on club level he almost seems defeated by himself.

When he left, the pressure was high and at the time, the fourth most expensive transfer in football history. Arguably, this could have been an extreme burden on his performance but that cannot be an excuse forever.

If he moves to the right club, the Portuguese will have a bright future ahead of him because he has the potential and he is still young.

Going back to the club that made him an amazing player in the first place, might be the right thing to do in this scenario to try and get back to old strengths.

No official announcements have yet been released by either club but it will be interesting to see what Felix decides to do with his future.

Benji Kosartiyer
Journalist
Kelly Stock

Football Writer

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