A player who looks set to be the subject of plenty of transfer speculation between now and the next transfer window is midfielder Joao Felix. The 19-year-old has enjoyed a breakthrough season in his native Portugal, playing 12 times for the Benfica first team in the Primeira Liga and producing some excellent performances. Indeed he has scored six goals and contributed two assists in his dozen appearances and recently he became the youngest player ever to score in a Lisbon derby as he fired in a last minute equaliser against Sporting CP.
He has even been labelled as the 'new Cristiano Ronaldo' by some showing just how highly rated he is. Another nickname he has earned is 'Hurricane Felix' by the Portuguese media after bursting onto the scene this term.
Naturally, the biggest clubs across Europe are now showing interest in the youngster and he could be the subject of a bidding war in the summer. Whoever tries to sign him will have to pay a lot of money for his services however, with him having signed a new contract in November which runs until 2023 and reports suggest that the Portuguese club have a €120 million release clause written into it.
It is thought that Benfica have already been batting away interest for Felix, and they are understood to have rejected a £50 million bid from a unnamed Premier League club in the January transfer window. But as his performances keep on getting better, they look set to receive plenty more offers for their prized asset in a few months time.
Three clubs odds are 4/1 to sign Joao Felix
Bookmaker BetVictor are currently offering a market on which club will sign Felix in the summer, and there are three clubs currently leading the race according to them all with a price of 4/1. Manchester United are the first of those, with the Red Devils likely to want to revamp their squad in the summer whether that is under the management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or somebody else. Several players are out of contract at Old Trafford in the summer, including Juan Mata who plays in a similar position to Felix so he could be considered as a potential replacement for the Spaniard.
Paris Saint Germain and Juventus are the other two clubs with odds of 4/1 to sign the Portuguese star. The Ligue 1 side have a reputation for big money signings having added the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe to their ranks recently, but could potentially miss out given their issues with Financial Fair Play - UEFA have reopened their investigation into whether the French champions broke the rules.
As for Juventus, Felix has recently spoken of his admiration for Cristiano Ronaldo, describing him as the "greatest" and a "world icon." He also said that he would like to play alongside Ronaldo in the future, as it would help him improve as a football. That could potentially mean a move to Juventus could be the most likely outcome in the summer, with the player obviously interested in a move to Turin.
Who else could sign Joao Felix?
One other club that has been strongly linked with Felix is Real Madrid. The Spanish giants are always interested in snapping up the best young talent, indeed they have added the likes of Brahim Diaz and Vinicius Junior in recent transfer windows. And with Isco potentially leaving the club in the summer, their could be space for a new attacking midfielder to join Los Blancos.
Reports suggest that Madrid have been monitoring his progress as they look to bounce back from a disappointing La Liga campaign which has seen them sack manager Julen Lopetegui and fall way behind Barcelona in the table. It is understood that they have been aware of him since he turned in an excellent performance against their Under-19 team during the 2016/17 season, scoring a brace in the semi-finals of the UEFA Youth League and they will surely be impressed at how he has developed since then. Despite the links however, the La Liga side are priced out at 14/1 to sign the youngster before the end of the next transfer window.
Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Bayern Munich are also all included in the market priced between 8/1 and 14/1 so it still looks wide open as to where he will end up. Perhaps the most surprising name amongst the list of clubs interested in signing the 19-year-old is West Ham United, who are thought to have already made contact with Benfica to discuss how much they would want for him. They are currently 8/1 to sign him, but due to the fact the Portuguese club appear unwilling to let him leave for anything less than his release clause, it could price the Hammers out of making a bid.
Felix enjoying being linked with Europe's best
Despite being such a young player, the Portuguese starlet appears unfazed by the clubs and transfer fees he has been linked with. In a recent interview with Tuttosport, he said: "I'm not scared by the numbers being mentioned, of the comparisons in the media, nor the interest of the biggest clubs on the planet.
"I'm a professional and very lucky to be well advised. My father was a PE teacher, who was an athletics coach and knows our world very well. Then I have the best agent in the world in Jorge Mendes. I am attracted by the big leagues like the Spanish, English, Italian and French. All the best Portuguese players went to play in the most important foreign leagues and, of course, I would like to do it, too."
It looks set to be an interesting summer for Joao Felix, who is certainly one of the hottest properties in European football.