There’s still plenty of summer transfer business to be done this summer, but the smartest signing has already been made—it’s a teenager who’s set to be a superstar.
When Atletico Madrid decided to fill the role vacated by Antoine Griezmann with a teenager with limited experience in the Portuguese Liga, many were baffled. However, Joao Felix is the shrewdest signing of the summer—even at €126m. Why so much for a 19-year-old with only a single season in the Portuguese top flight under his inexperienced belt?
The 19-year-old has already shown his world-class talent during pre-season, and has the potential to become one o the biggest names in the game in the coming seasons. If you watched Atleti’s demolition of city rivals Real Madrid in New Jersey last Friday, you’ll have a pretty good idea why they dropped all that cash.
Felix is being dubbed by some as the ‘New Ronaldo,’ and with two assists and a goal in his second-ever start for his new side—against one of the best teams in the world, no less—it’s easy to see why.
Felix was developed as a youngster by Porto, but he left for Portuguese Liga Nos rivals Benfica–where he really started to show his incredible talent.
Last season he made the step up to Benfica’s first team, where he scored 20 goals, including a late equaliser against fierce city rivals Sporting Lisbon in his second-ever senior appearance.
The season before he stepped up to the senior side, Benfica finished seven points behind his old club Porto. With Felix in their ranks, they won the league. So yes, Porto are probably still kicking themselves about letting him go.
Felix has also established his place in the Portuguese national team: in the UEFA Nations League final this summer, he partnered Ronaldo up top as they went on to lift the title.
Despite his tender age, he’s got pace, precision, brilliant dribbling skills, the confidence to take on defenders, and sublime finishing skill.
He is a highly worthy replacement for Antoine Griezmann, and ran rings around Nacho Fernandez and Sergio Ramos last week…. with the latter reportedly expressing anger at Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane for failing to sign him.
The feeling is that €126m is actually a great investment, and Atleti could make a lot more if they are to sell him in a few seasons’ time.
It’s easy to get swept up in hype, and there’s a danger in reading too much into pre-season play, but Joao Felix is the real deal. He already looks world class, and he’ll be one to watch on the European stage in the coming seasons.
Meanwhile, we’ll get an even better look at him on these shores as Atleti take part in the annual MLS All-Star match this Wednesday in Orlando.
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