Arsenal are seemingly in the market to sign a replacement for Gabriel Jesus, and Atletico Madrid star Joao Felix has emerged as a potential candidate for Mikel Arteta’s side.
Relevo have recently reported that the Gunners have been in contact with super-agent Jorge Mendes over potentially signing the 23-year-old, with Atletico keen to offload Felix if a club can match their €140m (£120m) asking price for the attacker.
With Felix starring out in Qatar with Portugal at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, it’s easy to suggest that the former Benfica wonderkid would be an ideal fit for Arsenal. However, there are good reasons to suggest why the Viseu-born attacker would be a poor fit for the north London side.
Arsenal shouldn’t consider £120m Joao Felix signing for three key reasons
Extortionate transfer fee:
As stated, Atletico are open to selling Felix in January but only at an extortionate rate, with the La Liga side keen to recoup as much of the reported £113m the Spanish side initially paid to sign Felix back in 2019.
And for Arsenal, this transfer fee is simply too ridiculous to even consider in January, with the Gunners’ record transfer still Nicolas Pepe’s move to north London in the same year from LOSC Lille for a reported £72m.
Whilst there’s no denying that Stan and Josh Kroenke could be willing to break the £100m transfer barrier for Arsenal given their recent investment, Felix would be a poor use of such funds.
Doesn’t solve Arsenal’s main attacking problem:
Arsenal’s biggest worry with Jesus being out injured is that it leaves Arteta with very few options to actually play striker. Whilst Eddie Nketiah is a strong backup, the 23-year-old will be the club’s sole player who is a natural in the position, something Felix isn’t.
Whilst the Portuguese star does lead the attack for Atletico and Portugal, the youngster’s role is completely different to that of Jesus and Nketiah’s, with Felix sitting much deeper and often straying away from physical duels that have made the Arsenal forwards as important as they are for Arteta’s system.
Indeed, a case could be made that Felix would also provide cover out-wide. However, given how specific Arteta and Edu Gaspar have been in what signings they make in the last 18 months, the Atletico star hardly fits the criteria needed to flourish as either a striker or a winger for the Gunners.
Hinders Martinelli and Saka’s development:
Speaking of wingers, Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka have arguably been Arsenal’s two most important players this season, with the duo striking up an incredible relationship with Jesus in what has been one of the most balanced and deadly front-threes in the Premier League this campaign. And signing Felix could throw all this work out the window.
As mentioned, the Atletico star can play out wide, meaning that once Jesus is back and the £120m has been spent, Arteta must drop one of Saka or Martinelli in favour of the Portuguese international, a decision that many Arsenal supporters will see as a heinous crime given how talented the 21-year-olds are.