KEY POINTS

  • Manchester United is willing to spend around $129 million on Atletico Madrid's Joao Felix, a report said
  • The Red Devils are not willing to spend more than this amount for any of their targets
  • Felix is not happy with Atletico and could welcome a lucrative offer from other clubs, the report claimed

Manchester United may be open to splurging on Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix, who has been dubbed by some as the “new Cristiano Ronaldo,” after failing to secure a deal for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, a report from Spain said.

Following an impressive run with Dortmund, Sancho emerged as one of the most sought-after prospects this summer, with United having been linked to him for months. But after the botched move, the Red Devils are now considering spending the money involved in the Sancho deal, around £100 million ($129 million), on Atletico star Felix, Spanish outlet Don Balon reported.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side is not willing to spend more than this amount for any of their targets, which also include Gareth Bale and Douglas Costa.

According to the report, the Portuguese youngster, who joined Atletico from Benfica in July last year after signing a seven-year contract worth €126 million ($145 million), is not happy with his current situation at the Spanish club and may welcome lucrative offers from big-spending clubs.

Atletico coach Diego Simeone could be open to selling him as well in order to make way for new reinforcements after Felix failed to establish himself in the team, the outlet claimed.

Ahead of his La Liga debut last year, Felix was touted as the “new Ronaldo,” with many convinced that the 20-year-old's playing style resembled that of his fellow countryman.

But instead of becoming one of the league’s most notable players, Felix faced a series of criticisms that eventually affected his performance.

Atletico Madrid's Portuguese forward Joao Felix is one of several players to have moved for fees of more than 100 million euros in recent years. Such extravagance could now be a thing of the past Atletico Madrid's Portuguese forward Joao Felix is one of several players to have moved for fees of more than 100 million euros in recent years. Such extravagance could now be a thing of the past Photo: AFP / PAU BARRENA

In May, Felix admitted that the media played a big role in his failure on the pitch. According to the Atletico star, he even reached a point where he decided to stop using social media because of the “bad things” he read about him.

“The most important thing was to deal with the media, newspapers, social networks that I used to follow, I liked when they said beautiful things and not, when they said bad things,” Felix admitted. “At one point I stopped following them (social media) and I have not done it again. At the moment, I am fine now, moving from the Portuguese to the Spanish league.”

La Liga pundit Terry Gibson recently said in an interview that the system Simeone has created may be too restrictive for Felix, who needs to be allowed to do what he wants on the pitch like Lionel Messi.

“Joao Felix is finding it hard and Simeone is finding it hard to find his place in the team. We saw against Red Bull when he came on he was given a license to do what he wanted,” Gibson told Goal. “He was sensational and we didn’t see that enough last season. We saw it in flashes which is understandable because of his age, moving to a new league and country. Simeone might need to find a new position for him.”

“That position should be possibly similar to Messi’s role in Barcelona. A player who has the license to roam, drop deep, go wide, around a player who is the focal point of the attack,” he continued. “I think that’s how you see the best of Joao Felix. In the system at Atletico Madrid, he was too restricted.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United are just outside the Champions League places Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United are just outside the Champions League places Photo: AFP / Paul ELLIS