Newcastle may be about to make biggest signing yet under Saudis thanks to Boehly
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Newcastle could begin to target Chelsea loanee Joao Felix if they secure qualification to next season’s Champions League, as a result of the Portuguese forward’s recent stance on a possible transfer. Felix left Atletico Madrid after his relationship with Diego Simeone broke down and temporarily joined Chelsea on an expensive six-month loan.
The Portugal star has shown glimpses of quality amid a disrupted spell at Stamford Bridge, with two different head coaches in Graham Potter and Frank Lampard, though if they do wish to sign him on a permanent basis they will have to negotiate with Atletico once again as there is no option to sign him in the loan deal.
Chelsea may have thought they were handed a lifeline when Spanish outlet Cadena Cope reported that Felix would like to remain in England next season as opposed to a return to La Liga with his parent club, but face a significantly uphill battle as one major factor behind his thinking is to play in the Champions League.
Since Todd Boehly and co took over at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea have faced significant disruption through managerial changes, a bloated and unbalanced squad which has Lampard’s outfit currently sat 11th in the league table and over 20 points away from a top-four place and Champions League football next season.
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Felix’s stance does open the door to those who do make the top four, currently likely to be Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle. The Gunners and Red Devils had been rumoured with a January loan for the 23-year-old before they were gazumped by Chelsea, though the Magpies could make a big statement by landing him ahead of their rivals.
Atletico had reportedly been open to another loan for next season with a similar financial package, as Chelsea covered the entirety of Felix’s wages in addition to a £9.7million loan fee. If Newcastle were interested in purchasing the Portuguese forward outright, Atleti had demanded £124.5m according to Mundo Deportivo, which would be a club and British transfer record.
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It is unlikely that any club would pay that fee for Felix, including Newcastle, though if he were brought to St James’ Park he would likely surpass Bruno Guimaraes and Alexander Isak as the club’s most high-profile signing under the new Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund ownership.
He would already have an ally at Newcastle, however, having worked with Kieran Trippier at Atletico. The England right-back clearly has a positive view on Felix also, having praised his ability following a 1-1 draw with United. “It was unbelievable. He can do so many things like that. He has the quality,” Trippier told 5 Live last year.
“We need him to step up, we need him to be the difference. I was surprised they brought him off, because I think that changed the dynamic of the way Atletico Madrid were playing.”
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