Manchester United have emerged as frontrunners in the race to sign highly-rated Benfica teenager Joao Felix after reports in the Portuguese media claimed they had agreed to meet the £92m exit clause in his contract.
Felix capped off his remarkable breakout season by scoring in a 4-1 win over Santa Clara on Saturday, sealing the league title for his side. The attacking midfielder’s debut campaign in the top flight has concluded with 15 goals and seven assists from 26 league games – and that has seemingly been enough to convince United to make their move.
According to Portuguese outlet Sapo, scouts from several European clubs were in attendance at the game, to keep their eyes on various targets. Among those were Red Devils officials, who ventured to Lisbon to step up their pursuit of 19-year-old Felix.
We revealed last month that no fewer than seven Premier League sides had been on scouting missions to witness Felix for themselves, but it was Juventus who were most strongly linked with his signature; the Italian champions ready to cash in on Paulo Dybala in order to finance a move for the 19-year-old.
However, Portuguese newspaper Record claims it is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side who have acted first and have met the huge €105m exit clause in his contract – with the parties now in talks over what would be a club-record swoop for United.
And while United are currently in the driving seat to sign Felix, Record claims there is no guarantees that the young playmaker will end up at Old Trafford, with Atletico Madrid – soon to be armed with cash from Antoine Griezmann’s sale – also serious contenders to sign him.
PSG and Barcelona have also been mentioned as suitors – but are yet to make any sort of move at this stage.
Felix, for his part, has remained tight lipped about his future and his attitude and maturity is said to have convinced United’s hierarchy that he has the right temperament to make it to the top.
Solskjaer faces a big summer at Old Trafford, with the club likely to make wholesale changes to their playing staff following their failure to qualify for the Champions League.
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