Atletico Madrid were the biggest spenders in La Liga this summer, and the nature of the champions’ signings has cast doubt over the prospects of record signing João Félix as he nears a return to action.

Atletico have conducted a net spend exceeding €65m, with the deadline day deal for Antoine Griezmann the headline-grabbing transfer in the capital. Atletico also signed Argentine midfielder Rodrigo de Paul (Udinese) and Brazilian forward Matheus Cunha (Hertha Berlin) for significant fees.

According to local paper AS, coach Diego Simeone will lean towards a 4-4-2 system, meaning there are four attacking positions which could potentially be filled by Félix. However, Luis Suarez, Griezmann, Cunha and Angel Correa are favoured for the main forward positions, while Marcos Llorente is Simeone’s preference on the right following an excellent season last term.

Whichever system Simeone uses (Atletico have played with three CBs at the start of the season) the publication says Félix’s best chance of game time could come in a left-sided role, but the impressive early-season form of Thomas Lemar will ensure there is strong competition, particularly as the Frenchman is a natural left-winger.

AS describes the situation as “complicated for Félix” who is nearing a return from injury as he begins his third season with Los Rojiblancos. In May, Simeone told Argentine media that he “gets sad when I cannot get the best out of him” but insisted he was determined to help the former Benfica man reach a consistent level.

Félix is back in training with Atletico following a summer operation on his ankle. The 21-year-old is believed to have carried the injury for over six months, but following Portugal’s elimination at the European Championships it was deemed essential for Félix to undergo an operation which has seen him miss Atleti’s opening three league matches.

By Sean Gillen

@SeanGillen9

Comments (17)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

This situation just highlights how dumb and short-sighted Benfica's selling philosophy has been and how greedy agents don't care about their clients and just want to see the cash.

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If it were me, I would sell any teenager for €127 million over and over again. That large sum of money is too damn good to resist.

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Then you are missing the point friend. Short term, sure it's a good "win", but long term, without reinvestment and retaining young talent, the Gulf between the rich clubs and everyone else will continue to widen.

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Chris, if I remember correctly, the amount was basically his release clause, so I think they couldn't do much but take it. Also, a ridiculous amount, no team could pass up even if wasn't.

But I agree with you, they should have reinvested it into...

Chris, if I remember correctly, the amount was basically his release clause, so I think they couldn't do much but take it. Also, a ridiculous amount, no team could pass up even if wasn't.

But I agree with you, they should have reinvested it into their academy instead of older foreign players. They will never win that economic game long term buying foreign players, but with their academy, it is the long term path to being able to sustain a strong high level European Club.

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Chris, you're right long term if Benfica, Porto and Sporting keeps these players they would have a bigger profit than if they sell considering the Champions League, Commercial and Broadcasting income they can potentially get. And as a consequence...

Chris, you're right long term if Benfica, Porto and Sporting keeps these players they would have a bigger profit than if they sell considering the Champions League, Commercial and Broadcasting income they can potentially get. And as a consequence that would benefit all the clubs in the league. However its quite impossible for them to hold on to players even if they wanted. For example if Atletico offers Joao Felix a 10M wage, the player is not gonna even wanna stay at Benfica who in the best case scenario would offer him 2 - 3 M. If you work at a company paying you 50k a year and you get a new job offer that doesn't suit you that well but pays a quarter of a million you'd have a very hard time refusing it and probably a hard time thinking clearly about it. All you're gonna think about would be the stuff you can do with that much money. It's an unfair game for teams with modest budgets nowadays but that's the world we live in and clubs like Benfica try to get the most out of every opportunity they have.

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The game is constantly changing and you'd be surprised how players can be convinced to earn a little less if it means Champions League football and staying in a city where they already bought a house and settled their family.

I agree, financial...

The game is constantly changing and you'd be surprised how players can be convinced to earn a little less if it means Champions League football and staying in a city where they already bought a house and settled their family.

I agree, financial fair play is a joke, and oil money needs to get out of the game. The best thing that could happen would be to instill salary caps as we see in US sports.

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You are also assuming Felix didn’t want the move. You are just speculating and have no idea what the conversation was between the agent and Felix. It’s also always easy to play the result.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

And what idea do you have? Do you think Felix wanted to go to Atletico, to a manager who is known to play defensive footy and have a big personality?

Would you like to get that Felix would not have been willing to stay a few more years if it...

And what idea do you have? Do you think Felix wanted to go to Atletico, to a manager who is known to play defensive footy and have a big personality?

Would you like to get that Felix would not have been willing to stay a few more years if it meant going to a more suitable club to his playing style?

Or do you think the decision was made for him when Benfica smiled and took the money?

Right then.

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According to LFV, Felix pleaded with him to go, because Felix was going to get a huge raise.

It is hard to tell a Felix to pass up the money, his family isn't rich and no guarantees in the future. He could have feared to lose a coach like Lage,...

According to LFV, Felix pleaded with him to go, because Felix was going to get a huge raise.

It is hard to tell a Felix to pass up the money, his family isn't rich and no guarantees in the future. He could have feared to lose a coach like Lage, who likes to attack and likes youth and get JJ, who likes older, proven foreign players. Then he would ride the bench and be a flop in 5 years, then will all ambition being gone, become a journeyman player in the Liga.

But I do agree with you, I don't think there would be too many teams that would be a worse fit than Athletico.

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I believe LFV about as much as I believe in Jorge Jesus's ability to speak Spanish.

Club players can be convinced to stay if the club instills a policy of player retention.

Of course, there will always be temptation and players will leave,...

I believe LFV about as much as I believe in Jorge Jesus's ability to speak Spanish.

Club players can be convinced to stay if the club instills a policy of player retention.

Of course, there will always be temptation and players will leave, but the point is instead of 100% leaving, if Portuguese teams can keep 50% of them, they still improve their quality.

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Portuguese clubs are always going to be a feeder club for bigger leagues. They are never going to compete with cash/oil rich clubs from other leagues.

Joao Felix was lucky he got to be sold for that huge sum of money when he got the chance. He...

Portuguese clubs are always going to be a feeder club for bigger leagues. They are never going to compete with cash/oil rich clubs from other leagues.

Joao Felix was lucky he got to be sold for that huge sum of money when he got the chance. He is now playing in one of the biggest leagues in the world and getting a decent amount of paycheck. If you read the news during the transfer activity, Atl. Madrid still consider him untouchable even after his shortcomings.

You bet the money Benfica received from his sale will surely be reinvested. And we all know Benfica has one of the best academy in the world.

On the other hand, Benfica must be grinding their teeth right now that they did not cash in for Florentino Luis, Gedson Fernandes and Jota. They should have been sold when the world started to know their names. Now, a few years passed, Benfica had a couple of managerial changes, and these players are never going to get another chance again in a Benfica shirt. It's sad for them and the club really.

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@Dhazer

Keep in mind that players such as Florentino, Gedson and Jota have fallen off from interest more due to the change in managers than the loss of talent or ability to grow. Managers such as JJ have always been known to ignore youth players...

@Dhazer

Keep in mind that players such as Florentino, Gedson and Jota have fallen off from interest more due to the change in managers than the loss of talent or ability to grow. Managers such as JJ have always been known to ignore youth players and play others that he hand picked for purchase.

So Benfica should not be kicking themselves that they didn’t sell them a few years ago, rather they should be kicking themselves for changing their own long term (working) strategy to bring in the most overrated manager I’ve ever seen.

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Nothing to do with managerial changes, they regressed and look like modest players at best. Just not good enough, the one who may still have a chance is Florentino. None of us want to see young prospects fail for their sake plus it hurts our...

Nothing to do with managerial changes, they regressed and look like modest players at best. Just not good enough, the one who may still have a chance is Florentino. None of us want to see young prospects fail for their sake plus it hurts our national team but the reality is most of these young promising players only a small percentage become impact players the rest are squad players. Perhaps the Portuguese coaches see this and don't play them, I would not play some of these guys. Gedson is a prime example went to Spurs, nothing came of it. He maybe bouncing around in Turkey. Plus he was poor playing for the U-21.

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It’s difficult to “do the right thing” when there is so much money involved. Yea you could stay at your local club and play more consistently, but there’s no guarantee how your career will play out. So if a large sum of money comes along it’s...

It’s difficult to “do the right thing” when there is so much money involved. Yea you could stay at your local club and play more consistently, but there’s no guarantee how your career will play out. So if a large sum of money comes along it’s hard for the club and player to say no.

Even with youth players that stayed, the pressure to win the title every year at the big three doesn’t really allow a youth player to develop. Coaches don’t want to take the risk with youngsters. Jesus and Conceição just don’t have the mentality to put their arm around a youngster to develop them.

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Good points.

Although having such a high transfer price weighs heavily on the players, it also makes sure that they can't be totally ignored. Even though he hasn't had the best run at AMadird, plenty of clubs want him because of the tag on him...

Good points.

Although having such a high transfer price weighs heavily on the players, it also makes sure that they can't be totally ignored. Even though he hasn't had the best run at AMadird, plenty of clubs want him because of the tag on him now. And they won't let him go until he starts to deliver, so they can get some money back. So they need to try to play him or they will look like idiots and lose money.

I think they should loan him to a club that will be able to use his talents, then they could sell him and get their money back and he will have re-established himself.

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He’s only 21. He made the right move. He set himself up and his family for life and now athletico is not going to do what psg did with Mbappe and risk losing him for nothing. That means most likely next year they will sell. They can’t wait too...

He’s only 21. He made the right move. He set himself up and his family for life and now athletico is not going to do what psg did with Mbappe and risk losing him for nothing. That means most likely next year they will sell. They can’t wait too long hoping he resigns because unless the kid really is a moron I see no chance he ever renews with them unless they replaced simeone with Lage or pep lol. This is now the real decision for Felix. Because he peaked so young he can still now leave and go to the right club and he still will only be 22 or 23 and his whole career ahead of him and money will not be an issue. The way Simeone drives ferraris like there atvs it’s not the worst thing anyway for Felix long term health to play as little as possible this year to preserve his body and ankles which are taking a beating in Simeones rugby style system. Guys like Debruyne went through the same situation. This is only the beginning of his story. There is so many years for this kid to still make his mark

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Exactly this: “ It’s difficult to “do the right thing” when there is so much money involved.” It’s easy for us to sit here and cast judgement about sums of money none of us can ever understand. We have no idea what goes into any deal because we...

Exactly this: “ It’s difficult to “do the right thing” when there is so much money involved.” It’s easy for us to sit here and cast judgement about sums of money none of us can ever understand. We have no idea what goes into any deal because we are on the outside just speculating. We have very little context. At the end of the day, these clubs are businesses, so it shouldn’t be shocking or unexpected. It’s the buy low and sell high model that sustains the top Primeira clubs. The clubs owe nothing to the players and that’s why players sign agents. It’s a free market. If player don’t like it then find another job. Ill never understand how fans find it shocking that any sports team thinks money before emotions. The clubs job is first to get as much as possible for a player and second to find a place where the player wants to go, which btw almost always happens. This isn’t like America sports we’re players can be traded to places they don’t want to go. When was the last time a player was sold to a team they didn’t want to play for?

Also, let’s not forget that for most of these players it is their first major contract that will create generational wealth. He didn’t need to sign for 7 years, but locking in as many years as possible at 4m a piece is a safe and smart financial move. I don’t care if you come from a poor or middle class family that money is life altering and hard to turn down. It’s a gamble to stay another year and potentially see you stock plummet. There are plenty of examples of players betting on themselves and it working and not working, so it depends on the players risk tolerance.

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