There is plenty of cautious optimism emanating from the Manchester United faithful right now, with the appointment of Erik ten Hag at the helm earlier this year a big step in the direction of stability and greener pastures over the horizon.
However, reports stemming from last month state that the Glazer family are open to discussion regarding the sale of Man United.
There has been friction between the club and the fanbase in this regard for some time, with the situation teetering on untenable, illustrated by protests against the prestigious outfit’s ownership and wayward direction.
Consequently, according to the Daily Mail, the limbo status that the Manchester giants are currently enduring is preventing lucrative transfer deals from being struck, throwing a prospective move for Joao Felix, who has been at the centre of heavy attention regarding his future at Atletico Madrid, into doubt.
The loan market will now be an avenue the club must consider, luring Felix to Old Trafford for the remainder of the campaign and reassessing the prospect of a permanent transfer this summer.
The Red Devils’ precarious situation has already been evidenced by the recent Liverpool signing of Cody Gakpo for an initial £35m – United were clear favourites to sign the World Cup star as rumours regarding his future heated up over the past few weeks, only for Reds boss Jurgen Klopp to swoop in at the eleventh hour and bring him to Anfield.
And now, concerns that a replication of the misfortune might arise with Felix will be at the forefront of Ten Hag and United director of football John Murtough’s conversations, with heavy interest from a host of top European outfits.
A recent report from talkSPORT detailed Atletico’s £8m demands for a loan move for Felix, a figure that United and other interested suitors have been deterred by.
Signing for his Spanish outfit from SL Benfica for £113m in 2019, Felix has found polarity between Atletico’s defensive structure and his own breezy skill set, with tensions increasing speculation over a swift departure.
Having scored just 33 goals and 18 assists from 129 appearances for his current side, it is clear that his talents might be best suited under a more offence-minded manager, such as Ten Hag.
Despite the hurdles in the track, United simply must sign a player that bears similarity and can have a similar impact to Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino.
31-year-old Firmino signed for the Merseyside outfit from Hoffenheim for £29m in 2015, at the maiden period of Klopp’s reign, and brought guile and trickery that played a pivotal role in transcending the squad from mediocrity to mastery, with the club winning a wealth of major honours over this period.
With his creative aura from the talismanic role – largely as a false nine, Felix could emulate the Brazilian and knit the United attack together, injecting a new level of cohesion and allowing the likes of Marcus Rashford and Antony to Flourish from the offensive flanks.
The 23-year-old phenom is blossoming into his own, and his exploits on the international stage with Portugal are evidence enough that he can weave his “magic”, a term used by former coach Renato Paiva to describe the ace, into the likes of the Red Devils.
As such, Murtough must look to sign Felix, even if it’s on loan this winter, as Ten Hag could land his very own Firmino, thus easing the sting of losing Gakpo to their Merseyside arch-rivals.