Several outlets on Wednesday reported that Atlético Madrid have turned down a large offer from Manchester United for star forward João Félix. And the club appears to have (cheekily) confirmed this on social media:
Marca’s front page Wednesday ran the somewhat-incredulous story that Erik ten Hag’s crisis-ridden Red Devils want to spend their way out of trouble by poaching two players from the Spanish capital — Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro and João Félix, who helped put Man United out of the Champions League last season and scored against them in a preseason meeting last month.
The same source later reported that United made a €135 million bid for João late last month, which Atlético rejected out of hand as it is nowhere close to the player’s €350 million release clause.
Diario AS reported the “mega-offer” for João was worth €130 million — just a few million more than Atlético paid Benfica to sign him in July 2019. Relevo, Cadena SER, and Mundo Deportivo have all said Atleti firmly rejected that offer, which agent Jorge Mendes brought from his contacts in Manchester.
The Rojiblancos also intend to keep forwards Matheus Cunha (whose own release clause is reportedly over €100 million) and Álvaro Morata (who is now being valued at €70 million) through this summer in light of United’s purported interest in both players — especially after Morata began the season with a brace at Getafe.
“I’m not the owner of the club, I am the coach,” Diego Simeone said Monday following the 3-0 win at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez. “(Morata) is doing very well, working in an extraordinary way, and we hope that he will stay with us.”
With respect to João Félix, nobody should be shocked that Atlético rejected Man United’s offer for the Portuguese — and close observers are not surprised that the 22-year-old is content in Madrid. He started the new season with a hat-trick of assists at Getafe, and he is assuming a leadership role after struggling for form and fitness at various points over the past three seasons.
João is still the most-expensive player in Atlético’s history, and it seems he’s close to realizing the potential that enticed Atleti to part with €127 million three years ago.
“(João) looks more and more mature, stronger. He showed it in the 14 finals last season until (his season ended) due to injury,” Simeone said. “He is growing, showing maturity, taking on responsibility. He sees more than other players ... Things come naturally to him, and he has worked hard to get to this point.”