Joao Felix’s strengths and weaknesses analysed as Chelsea transfer ‘condition’ comes to light

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Chelsea look set to complete a loan deal for Atletico Madrid forward Joao Felix

With only ten days since the January transfer window opened, Chelsea already look set to secure their fourth signing of the month. Fabrizio Romano has claimed an agreement with Atletico Madrid has been reached to bring Joao Felix to the club on loan.

The forward was almost guaranteed a move away from Madrid this month after he demanded a transfer due to his lack of game time under Diego Simeone, while Atletico also admitted they would be open to sending him out on loan for the rest of the season. While Arsenal were previously thought to be leading the race for his signature, it is Chelsea that look set to snap him up for a €11 million fee and will also pay 100 per cent of his salary until the end of the campaign.

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While it had looked likely that Felix could leave Atletico on a permanent deal with his relationship with Diego Simeone under increasing strain, it was since reported that the Spanish giants would demand for the 23-year-old to extend his contract with the club before leaving until the end of the season. Felix previously signed a seven-year deal when joining Atletico that would expire in July 2026.

It was expected that this may have caused an issue in Felix’s potential departure to Stamford Bridge, however Romano has claimed the matter has been resolved, with the Portugal international set to extend his contract until 2027. However, this comes following reports in Spain claiming that Simeone will leave the club after 12 years in charge.

With Simeone’s reported exit seemingly paving the way for Felix to move to West London, Chelsea fans will be undoubtedly excited about the prospect of the youngster leading their attack given their poor record with strikers. However, there may also be understandable reason to be concerned.

Arguably one of Felix’s biggest and most noticable strengths is his skill and movement on the ball. The former Benfica star is a delight to watch as he glides past players like the ball is stuck to his feet, while he often manages to get past three or four opposing players at once. Felix’s agility has been undeniable since he first burst onto the scene in his home country, with former Benfica scout Jean-Claude Abeddou previously recalling the moment he first watched Felix as a teenager. He told Sky Sports: “You could immediately see his skill. He was so agile when carrying the ball, he gave the impression that he was flying across the ground.”

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Felix is yet to enjoy such a brilliant goalscoring campaign as his breakthrough season with Benfica in which he bagged 19 goals in all competitions before earning himself the big money move to La Liga. However, that certainly doesn’t mean his goals and assists record for Atletico Madrid hasn’t also been brilliant. What Chelsea need is someone that will provide them with the goals that the likes of Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Kai Havertz have failed to do and Felix’s ability in front of goal is fantastic. The forward has 25 goals and 13 assists in 96 La Liga appearances - which may not seem that impressive, however a lot of those came as a substitute and he actually averages a goal or assist for every 138 minutes played in the Spanish divison. He also ranks in the top seven players in La Liga for big chances created per 90 minutes (0.78) and shots on target per 90 minutes (1.66), while he has completed more through balls than any other player (0.69).

While Felix looks capable of adding exactly what Chelsea need to a disappointing season so far, there will also be some doubts about his highly anticipated move to the Premier League. One reason why the 23-year-old has struggled with Atleti is that he demands the ball at his feet and isn’t quite as effective off it, which didn’t quite fit with Simeone’s style of play. The Spanish outfit average less than 50 per cent possession and are known for sitting back once they go in front, making it difficult for Felix to have the desired impact. Chelsea are certainly more possession-based, however it suggests that while Felix may thrive in an attacking team, he might not be the figure to drag a team out from a poor performance - something the Blues have needed on multiple occasions. With only 30 passes per 90 minutes this season, Felix could be one to go missing when the team aren’t playing very well.

While this certainly isn’t a negative for a lot of players in the Premier League, Felix’s 5 ft 9 height and slim build will likely be what defenders will target if they struggle to stop his skill and agility. The English top flight is known for its aggression in comparison to other leagues across Europe and Felix will have to quickly adapt to that. However, like previously mentioned, the likes of Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling and N’Golo Kante have managed just fine despite their size.

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