Sunday, July 21, 2019

Atletico Madrid Made An Excellent Business Signing Joao Felix

Juan Pablo Aravena in Editorial, La Liga 7 Jul 2019

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The transfer market can lead teams to make crazy signings. In recent years, we have witnessed several top sides spending well over €100 million in one or two players, only to see those players fail miserably in a new environment. Very few teams are known to make “smart moves” in the market, with Borussia Dortmund being one of those.

However, when opportunities arise, sometimes you must take them and embrace the benefits… or consequences. That’s exactly what Atletico Madrid have done with Joao Felix. The 19-year-old Portuguese phenom was made available by Benfica this summer, and Los Colchoneros have won the race to sign him after paying his entire release clause worth a club-record €126 million.

It’s worth this signing might establish a new “era” at Atletico Madrid. They lost Rodri Hernandez and Diego Godin this summer, and Antoine Griezmann could soon follow them. But they acquired Hector Herrera and now Felix. Plus, they defeated sides such as Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Juventus and Manchester City on the race to acquire the Portugal international. Who would’ve thought they could have done that only a few years ago? They were always deemed as a “conservative” side when it came to transfers. But who can say that about them now?

What does history say regarding €100M players?

But… was this a good move for the Spanish side? Spending over €100 million for ONE player is not an easy thing to do. In fact, this has happened only seven times prior to Felix’s move to the Wanda Metropolitano outfit: Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Paul Pogba to Manchester United, Ousmane Dembele to FC Barcelona, Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus, Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona, Kylian Mbappe to PSG and Neymar to PSG.

Excluding perhaps Dembele and Coutinho, all the others have been worth their price tag. And nothing suggests history with Felix will be any different. Despite being only 19, he’s already a full international with Portugal and is coming off a 20-goal, 11-assist season (in all competitions) with Benfica last term. Who could argue those are top numbers considering his age and the quality of the league?

Atletico are protecting their star asset for the foreseeable future

Atletico signed Felix on a seven-year contract. And there’s virtually no chance of him leaving before that span comes to an end. He would have to become a massive flop – which seems unlikely – or suffer a massive injury that puts them close to retirement. But if we’re talking about Atletico selling the Portuguese wonderkid, then that’s quite hard. Partially because very few teams in the world would afford him.

Joao Felix will have a €350m release clause at Atletico Madrid. Needless to say, that’s another club record. And given how transfers have been shaping up in recent years, don’t rule out a €300m transfer sooner than later. PSG already paid €200M+ for Neymar, and numbers are only expected to increase in the near future.

All things considered Atletico have made an excellent piece of business acquiring the star forward from Benfica. They defeated top teams in the race to acquire him, protected him with a massive release clause, and will have him under contract until age-26 season.

Nice piece of work, Atletico.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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