Saturday, January 28, 2023
Home Football Joao Felix has issued a warning to Manchester United about signing him.

Joao Felix has issued a warning to Manchester United about signing him.

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Manchester United’s options are limited as they look to sign a striker next month.

United backed Erik ten Hag with record spending last summer, and club officials have repeatedly stated that they are further along in their rebuild than they anticipate at this point.

The club were not expecting any significant deals next month and have only changed their stance as a result of Cristiano Ronaldo’s fractured farewell, demonstrating their desperate need for another body in attack.

January is the month when desperate clubs do business, which confirms the type of players United will pursue, as funds are limited and selling clubs know they can raise their asking price.

It means the club is evaluating loan options rather than looking to sign a forward on a permanent deal during the mid-season window.

Memphis Depay is a possibility as he enters the final months of his contract at Barcelona, and Joao Felix is attempting to leave Atletico Madrid after a disagreement with manager Diego Simeone.

It means that United may have to pursue players who do not necessarily fit their preferred mould for a striker in addition to short-term solutions.

Ten Hag has played his best football this season with Anthony Martial’s mobility through the middle, but there is a growing feeling that in the long run, he’d prefer to have a physical alternative in his front three.

It is of particular interest in the case of Felix, who has never really excelled as a main striker in his career and would have to be shoehorned into the United attack.

You only need to ask Felix about the type of player he is. He is a young player who grew up idolising creative midfielders over goal-scoring forwards.

“I really liked Kaká, and after watching many of his videos, many of which featured Rui Costa, he also became one of the players I most wanted to see play,” he told BTV three years ago. “These two have always served as role models for me. Do what Rui Costa did; winning what he won is not easy, but I’m going to try to be as good as him, if not better.”

During his early days at Benfica, club legend António Simes compared the youngster to Johan Cruyff for his elegant approach to the game, though he cautioned that there was still a long way to go before the prince could be compared to a king.

This season, the 23-year-old has only appeared in two games as a recognised striker, both as part of a two-pronged attack, once with Antoine Griezmann and once with Alvaro Morata.

He has preferred the role of a second striker throughout his career, operating as a more advanced attacking midfielder behind a focal attacking threat.

It has been this way since he broke through at Benfica, where Haris Seferovic was the main attacking presence and Felix had an incredible breakthrough season with 20 goals from 43 appearances behind him, more than doubling the target he had set himself.

It means that if he were to join United, Felix would be best served in a role similar to the one currently held by friend Bruno Fernandes. The Atlético Madrid star is a huge fan of his countryman, who was a fierce domestic rival during his time at Sporting.

Fernando Santos got around that quandary at international level by playing on the opposite side of a recognised center-forward, whether it was Cristiano Ronaldo or Goncalo Ramos, which would not address United’s need for another striker next month.

Rather than lurking in the six-yard box and playing between the posts, Felix prefers to play between the lines, frequently finding space on the edge of the box rather than inside it.

He, like many other forwards at the club, has a tendency to drift out wide when on the attack and likes to try efforts from distance, which does not necessarily qualify him as a striker.

In his three seasons in Spain, the Portuguese forward has never scored more than ten goals and has been more of a supplementary option in the forward line than a constant threat. If United’s main goal is to add goals to their attack, he isn’t the most logical choice.

However, his ability to press and defend from the front, which Ten Hag has been eager to implement this season, works in his favour. Felix is also a natural on either foot, which not only opens up a variety of attacking options but also means he can play anywhere along the front line if needed.

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