Atletico Madrid star Joao Felix has reportedly demanded a transfer away from the Wanda Metropolitano after Los Colchoneros’ horror showing against Club Brugge in the UEFA Champions League.
Diego Simeone’s side were held to a 0-0 draw against Club Brugge in Madrid on Wednesday night, plunging their Round of 16 qualification chances into major doubt. The result puts Atletico 3rd in Group B, six points off the Belgian side at the top of the group, who haven’t conceded a goal in the opening four matchdays.
Atletico also sit two points off Portuguese side FC Porto in the final knockout round qualification spot. The Spanish giants are now reliant on the other results to see them over the line and into the Round of 16.
Despite needing a goal in the clash against Brugge, Atletico manager Simeone didn’t bring Joao Felix off the bench, much to the visible dismay of the 22-year-old. Felix was seen throwing his substitute’s bib off and sinking further into his seat after the coach opted to bring on defensive midfielder Axel Witsel rather than the former Benfica prodigy.
Felix has seemingly hit back at Simeone’s decision during training on Thursday. The player was photographed lifting his fingers up to his lips in a ‘shhh’ notion, presumably aimed at his manager after the player put the ball in the back of the net during a shooting drill.
The photo did the rounds on Twitter on Thursday, with the player himself acknowledging this. Felix wrote on the social media platform: “@rodridepaul What do you have to say? You can’t compete in training now,” with regards to the image.
Felix is said to be looking for a move away from the Spanish capital due to not being given enough game time, and the system being deployed by Diego Simeone inhibiting the Portuguese’s obvious talents. The Argentinian coach uses a very rigid, antagonistic system that’s main principle is defensive solidarity, something which has been hindering Atletico’s attacking strength for the past few years.
Furthermore, it’s being reported by Fichjes that current Premier League leaders Arsenal are chasing Felix’s signature, with manager Mikel Arteta said to be keen on adding further ammunition to his attack force.
Arsenal’s pragmatic style of play would be a much better system for Felix to strive in given his undoubted technical qualities. The Portuguese is also young and would fit in well with the current squad, with the Gunner’s project seemingly the best current option for the Atletico forward.
Other Premier League clubs Manchester United and Chelsea are also reportedly keen on Felix, who cost Atletico Madrid £106million from Benfica in 2019. However, it is likely that if a move were to materialize, it would be in the summer rather than in January.