Tactical Insights

FC Barcelona ‘Very Close To Losing’ First Team Star, Reports SPORT

FC Barcelona is “very close” to losing a first team star from its trophyless 2023/2024 season according to SPORT, which cited anonymous sources.

Joao Felix joined the Catalans on the final day of the summer transfer window last year, alongside fellow Jorge Mendes client and Manchester City owned-right back Joao Cancelo.

On June 30, 2024, Barca bid farewell to the pair after their loan deals expired, though any correspondence relating to that matter seemed to have been published in error and was swiftly deleted.

This meant there was hope that the Portuguese duo could still continue in Blaugrana under Hansi Flick next term, but subsequent reports have seen it explained that potential spanners have been thrown in the works.

SPORT cited anonymous English sources regarding City preferring to sell Cancelo for a fee in the coming weeks as opposed to accepting Barca’s wish to loan him once more with an option to buy in 2025.

Then over in Portugal, the Correio de Manha revealed that Felix’s boyhood club Benfica is negotiating with Felix’s full time employers Atletico Madrid with a view to him returning home.

Now on the day that Felix and Cancelo will face France as Portugal attempts to knock Real Madrid star Kylian Mbappe’s country out of the European Championship quarterfinals, SPORT again cites the Correio de Manha in saying that Atleti and Benfica “are very close to reaching a transfer agreement for the player and the operation will be closed if the [Felix] gives the ‘OK’ on his return to Portugal”.

The deal sees Benfica paying $32.5 million (€30 million) for 50% of Felix’s rights which would make him their most expensive signing in club history – a figure which SPORT notes Barca “has not even considered putting on the table”.

The Catalan outlet says that Mendes informed Barca Sporting Director Deco of what is happening with Felix, and the Catalans “made it clear that they were not in a position to bid”.

As things stand then, Barca looks set to lose out on Felix, which could be good news for Brazil international Raphinha who could nail down the left wing spot permanently as Lamine Yamal occupies his usual right flank berth.

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