Diego Forlan, a former Manchester United player, has suggested Joao Felix to see whether the grass is greener anywhere else than Atletico Madrid. The Portuguese star has struggled to make an impact at the club level this season, but he made an immediate impact at the World Cup, and United may want to take note with Erik ten Hag in need of a new front.
Since winning the renowned Golden Boy title as Europe’s finest young player in 2019, big things have been anticipated of Felix. His growth has been steady but sluggish since a mega-money move to Atletico, and his three goals in La Liga this season are hardly noteworthy.
Many believe Felix, at 23, is ready to take things to the next level, and United might offer him the platform to do so. Cristiano Ronaldo left an attacking gap at Manchester United when his contract was mutually terminated last month.
Forlan, who formerly shared a dressing room with Philippe Coutinho, has drawn parallels between Felix and the Brazilian, implying that he would profit from following in his footsteps.
“Joao Felix is a really excellent player; he is young and has a lot of potentials,” Forlan told reporters. “[Atletico Madrid] paid a high price for him, and he has not performed as expected, but he is still very young.”
“There are indications that he is considering leaving Atletico, and if he does, he may improve his performance.” That is something I believe in. It happens frequently. It happened, for example, with Philippe Coutinho, who played very little at Inter and improved greatly when he moved to Liverpool.”
Having played for both Manchester United and Atletico Madrid during his career, Forlan knows a thing or two about finding talent during a World Cup. In 2010, the Uruguayan tied with eventual Golden Boot winner Thomas Muller with five goals as La Celeste advanced to the semi-finals.
Felix got his World Cup campaign off to a good start with a clever finish in Portugal’s 3-2 triumph over Ghana last week. The Atletico Madrid teenager also began the 2-0 win against Uruguay, but it’s unclear whether Fernando Santos will stick with him for the Group H conclusion against South Korea on Friday.
With Ronaldo’s untimely departure leaving a gaping void in the squad, United is set to pursue a forward in the January transfer window. Ten Hag’s side was connected with a number of attackers over the summer, but they ultimately chose Antony in a lucrative £84 million deal.
According to Spanish media, Atletico Madrid is willing to accept a loss on Felix, whose asking price is set at £86 million. United has recently been connected with PSV Eindhoven player Cody Gakpo, who has started the World Cup with three goals in three games for the Netherlands.