João Félix has left Atlético Madrid to join Chelsea on a dry loan until the end of the season. Atlético and Chelsea each confirmed the deal Wednesday morning after multiple media reports indicated the agreement had been reached.
Agreement with @ChelseaFC for the loan until the end of the season of João Félix, who extends his contract with our club for one year, until 2027.— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) January 11, 2023
Thank you João, we wish you the best of luck in this new professional challenge! pic.twitter.com/gIeaQj8mFE
'I want to play with happiness' - Joao Felix. pic.twitter.com/oIlOnbmvVt— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 11, 2023
Atlético extend João’s contract by one year to 2027 to save money in the short term, and to leave open the possibility the Portuguese could yet return to the club and form part of its future.
Chelsea reach verbal agreement to sign Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid. Fee ~€11m (below initial #Atleti ask). Man Utd + Arsenal keen so 23yo had choice & #CFC project appealed. More reinforcements to follow this month @TheAthleticFC #MUFC #AFC https://t.co/igZlGZuf8h— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) January 9, 2023
The Daily Record was first to report that Chelsea took the lead in the race to sign João, while MARCA reported that the deal is pending only an official offer and the Athletic’s David Ornstein said the player’s will to play in west London proved decisive, even if on a temporary basis.
Atlético initially hoped for a total package worth more than €20 million and expected interested clubs — like Arsenal and Manchester United — to pay a €15 million loan fee and cover the player’s €6 million gross salary. Atleti are said to have lowered these demands in recent days and are prepared to accept an offer centered on an €11 million loan fee — but only the Daily Record has mentioned the possibility of an option to buy being included in the agreement.
David Medina and Carlos Carpio at MARCA said there is no option to buy, let alone obligation, as part of the agreement — which would show that Atlético CEO Miguel Ángel Gil Marín remains hopeful the “biggest bet in club history” can still pay off.
After enjoying a rich vein of form last spring, João’s lingering unhappiness with Diego Simeone boiled over in a loss to Real Madrid back in September, when the Portuguese was substituted and stormed down the tunnel following an unimpressive display. The 23-year-old had been playing well again since mid-November, featuring prominently at the World Cup with Portugal and scoring 5 goals in as many games for Atlético entering Sunday’s home match against FC Barcelona.
But João disappointed once more on Sunday, attempting just one shot in 72 minutes and looking ill at ease next to strike partner Antoine Griezmann as Atleti suffered a 1-0 defeat.
Chelsea are laboring in the Premier League, with 7 wins and 25 points from 17 games as new manager Graham Potter struggles to implement a fluid 4-3-3 system. The Blues are unlikely to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League (FiveThirtyEight gives them a 9 percent chance) and could even struggle to secure a top-seven finish, so Potter and new owner Todd Boehly will be hoping João can be their missing piece.
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