Atletico Madrid have smashed their own transfer record by making 19-year-old Joao Felix the fourth most expensive player in history.
The club confirmed on Wednesday that they would pay Benfica £114million for the Portuguese forward.
Only Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Philippe Coutinho have cost more with Atletico paying slightly over the release clause of £107m to enable them to buy the teenager in instalments.
JOAO FELIX STATS LAST SEASON
It beats their previous biggest spend – £62m on Thomas Lemar – and sees them use the money they stand to gain for Antoine Griezmann’s imminent departure to Barcelona in one fell swoop. The signing also comes on the same day midfielder Rodri, along with representatives of Manchester City, deposited his £63m release clause. The capture of Joao Felix gives Diego Simeone the centre-piece of his radically changed team for next season. Atletico have already lost captain Diego Godin, veteran Juanfran, midfielder Rodri and striker Griezmann.
Joao Felix will partner Alvaro Morata or Diego Costa in attack in place of the Frenchman. ‘We want a kid who is young and can absorb our ideas,’ said Simeone in an interview with Fox Sports recently. Atletico announced the signing on Twitter with a lengthy video, revealing Felix’s identity at the end. The unveiling of Felix was a clip that initially concealed his identity as he strolled around the Prado Museum in Madrid. ‘For 200 years, the Prado Museum has housed on its walls samples of enormous talent,’ the preview text read before concluding the video with the message: ‘Welcome Joao Felix. Pure Talent.’
Felix scored 20 goals and contributed 11 assists in 43 games for Benfica last season and his current deal expires in the summer of 2023. It is understood that Atletico have put a £225m release clause into his contract to put them in a strong negotiating position if he develops as they think at the Wanda Metropolitano. Felix is set to earn £15million across the next five seasons with Simeone’s side.