CHELSEA NEWS

Watch video: Joao Felix heading to London as Chelsea look to wrap up €11million loan deal

 

Chelsea’s deal to sign Joao Felix is progressing quickly with the Atletico Madrid forward currently en route to London to complete his move to Stamford Bridge. After a dire run of results and a crippling lack of goal threat, the west London club have decided to pay a massive loan fee to secure the Portugal international until the end of the season.

While the Blues will stop a little short of Atletico’s original €15million (£13.3m) asking price, they have still agreed to pay €11m (£9.7m) to take Felix on loan until the end of the season. The 23-year-old’s salary will also be covered in full, which adds on another £5.3m, while agent Jorge Mendes is also believed to be receiving a fee as part of the deal.

Chelsea are still trying to negotiate an option to buy Felix at the end of his loan, but talks have advanced to such a stage that the forward has now been granted permission to fly to London. Although there had been some speculation he was already in the capital, Felix was spotted leaving Atletico’s training complex by El Chiringuito TV’s cameras on Tuesday morning and will now board a flight to London.

A few hours after Felix was spotted driving to the airport, his girlfriend, Margarida Corceiro, uploaded a picture to Instagram aboard a private jet having just touched down in London. He will need to undergo a medical and put pen to paper before the deal can be rubber-stumped, and it seems unlikely he will be registered in time to face Fulham on Thursday evening. A host of clubs had been interested in signing Felix – including Manchester United and Arsenal – but they had all baulked at Atletico’s asking price.

But Chelsea finally caved in following their 4-0 hammering against Manchester City in the FA Cup, a match marquee summer signing Raheem Sterling missed after suffering a hamstring injury. The Blues have yet to ascertain the full extent of the problem and it requires a second scan after the first proved inconclusive, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – who only has one goal in the Premier League this season – was also absent against City with a back injury.

Chelsea have struggled massively for goals this season, netting just 20 in 17 matches – less than relegation candidates Leeds and only five more than bottom-of-the-table Southampton. It is hoped that Felix will add more creativity and goal threat up top, though the Portuguese star has struggled at Atletico and only netted 34 goals in 130 appearances for the club since his £112m move from Benfica in 2019.

There is a feeling at Chelsea that Felix was hindered by manager Diego Simeone’s more defensive brand of football, while he is viewed as the highest quality attacking addition they can realistically make in the notoriously difficult January market.

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