Competition Focus

Benfica and Villa Compete for High-Profile Transfer


Benfica are increasingly confident that they can complete a deal to re-sign Joao Felix from Atletico Madrid, according to FootballTransfers. This would mark a sensational return for the player who was once the most expensive signing by a Spanish club. However, they face stiff competition from Premier League side Aston Villa, whose manager, Unai Emery, is a known admirer of the Portugal international.

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Joao Felix’s Journey: From Record Signing to Loan Moves

Joao Felix’s journey has been anything but smooth since his departure from Benfica in 2019. Felix joined Atletico Madrid for a staggering €127.2 million, making him the fourth most expensive player in history at the time. Despite being part of the team that clinched the LaLiga title in the 2020/21 season, his stint at Atletico was marred by a deteriorating relationship with manager Diego Simeone.

The fallout saw Felix embark on successive loan spells, first to Chelsea and then to Barcelona. His time at Chelsea in the latter half of the 2022/23 season did not lead to a permanent deal. A similar scenario unfolded at Barcelona last season, where he managed to score 10 goals in 44 appearances but found himself slipping down Xavi’s pecking order towards the season’s end.

Benfica’s Proposal: A Lifeline for Felix?

Benfica’s interest in bringing Joao Felix back to Lisbon comes at a crucial juncture in the player’s career. FootballTransfers reports that Benfica are offering an initial €32.5 million for 50 percent of Felix’s future transfer rights. This deal would mean a full transfer, with Atletico Madrid entitled to half of the proceeds from any future sale of the player. Additionally, Benfica plans to gradually increase their share of his future transfer rights over the duration of his contract.

Spanish football expert Guillem Balague shared his insights on the potential move, stating, “The club will do whatever Simeone wants, including getting rid of Joao Felix. He doesn’t want him back. Joao Felix doesn’t want to go back to Atletico Madrid either.” This sentiment highlights the mutual desire for a fresh start, with Felix seriously considering Benfica’s proposal.

Aston Villa’s Interest: A Competing Offer

While Benfica seems like a promising destination, Aston Villa have also thrown their hat in the ring. Having resolved their financial issues, Villa now have the headroom required to make significant signings this summer. Duncan Castles commented on the situation, saying, “They could be a competitor for Benfica, and that may be a more attractive move to Felix.”

Villa’s manager, Unai Emery, is keen on adding Felix to his squad, potentially offering a more appealing platform for Felix to showcase his talents in the Premier League. The lure of playing in one of the world’s most competitive leagues could influence Felix’s decision.

Felix’s Decision: Weighing the Options

Joao Felix is at a crossroads in his career. Returning to Benfica could provide him with a familiar environment to rebuild his confidence and form. As Balague mentioned, “It actually could be a place where he can recover some of his confidence, project some of his talent and maybe with the lessons of the last few years find some kind of consistency.”

On the other hand, the challenge and exposure of the Premier League with Aston Villa might offer a different kind of motivation and growth opportunity. Felix’s decision will likely depend on where he feels he can best regain his form and continue his career progression.



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