Barcelona have made it publicly clear that they intend to keep João Félix at the club beyond this season and will do whatever it takes — within their very strict financial possibilities — to sign the Portugal international on a permanent deal after a very strong start to his loan campaign, with the highlight so far being his game-winning goal against his parent club, Atlético Madrid, last weekend.
The Colchoneros will certainly move on from Félix next summer after his public demand for a move to Barça completely fractured his relationship with the Capital club, and Atlético hope that a big offer will come either from a club in Europe or Saudi Arabia. But if nothing materializes and Félix is forced to return from his loan, that’s when Barça will hope to pounce and use something that Mundo Deportivo are calling the “Antoine Griezmann formula”.
When Griezmann returned to Atlético on loan from Barça 18 months ago, the Blaugrana were also hoping to get a big offer to sell the Frenchman somewhere else before discovering that the market for Griezmann at the time was a lot colder than initially expected. Atlético eventually approached Barça with a much lower offer for a permanent deal to take Griezmann’s salary off the Blaugrana books, and a deal was reached at a discount that satisfied all parties.
That is the scenario Barça hope to see play out next summer, with Félix’s very clear desire to be a Blaugrana for the long-term likely to play a big role. It might take the entire transfer window for Atlético to realize that they won’t be able to sell Félix for big money, which is when Barça plan to approach them with an initial loan offer followed by a discount transfer fee to make the deal permanent.
Obviously there’s still a long way to go until the summer and the end of this season will make it clear whether or not signing Félix on a permanent deal will be worth it from Barça’s perspective, but he will certainly do everything in his power to stay at Camp Nou.
It worked last summer. Let’s see if it works again, and how willing Atlético will be to just end the entire soap opera even if it means taking a loss.