Arsenal now ‘leading race’ for Joao Felix - as Aston Villa & Man Utd dealt huge transfer blow

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The latest updates on the Joao Felix transfer saga - as Arsenal reportedly take the lead in the race ahead of Aston Villa, Manchester United and Chelsea.

Arsenal are now ‘leading the race’ to sign Aston Villa transfer target Joao Felix, according to a new and reputable report. It was previously reported widely that the Portuguese superstar, who is wanted by a whole host of top clubs including Manchester United, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, was lined up to join Villa, but that may have now changed.

It is looking increasingly likely that Felix will leave Atletico Madrid this January, with both the player and a club chief alluding to a transfer over recent weeks. There is real competition for his signature, though, so it will not be easy for any clubs in the race.

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According to Marca, Arsenal are now the team ‘leading’ said transfer battle, with the reason why being their current form and league position in the Premier League. Mikel Arteta’s side, who are said to have a ‘slight edge’ over Villa for Felix, are currently at the summit of the table having won 12 of their opening 14 fixtures this campaign.

Last week, Atletico’s club chief told TVE via Marca that Felix would likely depart Wanda Metropolitano. He said: “Signing [Felix] was the biggest bet the club made in its history. “He is a top world-class player, but because of the relationship with the coach, his playing time, his motivation, it’d be reasonable to analyse an option for him to depart. It’s reasonable to think that he might leave.”

AFP via Getty Images

Felix was widely regarded as one of the best young players on the planet and he had just won the Golden Boy award before heading to Rojiblancos. By no means has Felix been awful, and far from it - but he has been unfortunate to not quite hit the mark at times. Atletico are now hoping to recoup as much of the figure they paid for him as possible.

Villa are by no means out of the battle for Felix, as Unai Emery already has a relationship built up with the forward’s agent, Jorge Mendes. BBC Sport reported last month that the Lions’ new manager asked Mendes for help to engineer his own move to Villa Park. He could now adopt a similar approach for his main transfer target.

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Last week the player himself said he had other matters to worry about given Portugal’s progress in Qatar. “I’m completely focused on the World Cup,” Felix said via Fabrizio Romano. “My agent doesn’t tell me anything about what’s going to happen, nor does he want to. I need to be focused on the now to play a great tournament.”

Now that he and his international side is out of the tournament, however, it is likely Felix’s attention will shift toward his future at a club level. The latest update detailed in this report is a big one, but it is certainly not definitive for how the transfer saga may unfold. We could yet see plenty more twists and turns.

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