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Aston Villa zero in on João Félix as Atlético CEO admits departure is possible

Miguel Ángel Gil Marín has said that the best thing for all parties is if João leaves Atlético in January.

Getafe v Atletico Madrid - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Atlético Madrid CEO Miguel Ángel Gil Marín has effectively admitted that João Félix’s time at the club has come to an end — just as a new English suitor has emerged.

Gil spoke to Televisión Española, the interview with the Spanish station coming in the wake of reports that the Portuguese was set to leave the club in January. It was reported last week that Jorge Mendes had been given the green light to find Félix a new club.

“I think he has world-class ability,” Gil Marín said from Doha while attending the FIFA World Cup. “But his relationship with the manager, the minutes played, his motivation... the most reasonable thing is to look at an exit for him. Even though I’d love for him to stay, it’s not ideal for the player.”

Korea Republic v Portugal: Group H - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Marvin Ibo Guengoer - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images

With the chief executive and majority shareholder now speaking openly about a rift between the manager and the player, it would seem there is no way back for Félix at Atlético. It’s a matter now of who is willing to buy the player, with Chelsea FC, PSG and Manchester United all prominent options. The latter two will be looking to replace global superstars — Cristiano Ronaldo is currently without a club, while Lionel Messi has been tipped to move to MLS side Inter Miami in the summer.

Marca’s David Medina reported on Tuesday that Aston Villa are “well positioned” to sign Félix, and Gil Marín is in direct negotiations with the Premier League side. Villa’s new coach, Unai Emery, will have watched the 23-year-old up close over the past few seasons while in charge at Villarreal.

Félix is fit and firing at the World Cup, and Atlético might see this as a good opportunity to let the world know they are willing to negotiate. He will not be the only player leaving the Metropolitano in January, with Matheus Cunha also reportedly close to a move to the Premier League. Atlético will have received a significant amount of money if the two players leave and will need replacements.