Exclusive: Saudi option emerges for La Liga man that prefers Barcelona switch

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With a few weeks left of the current transfer window, the teams in the Saudi Pro League are still pushing hard to get more players in, including one La Liga star that’s holding out for a switch to Barcelona.

The Catalans don’t yet appear to be in a position to make any big-name signings, but as we know in football things can change in the blink of an eye.

For reasons that are currently unclear, Atletico Madrid don’t appear to want Joao Felix anywhere near their first-team next season, and to that end, a move away is a certainty.

An ultimately unsuccessful loan spell at Chelsea has seen the Portuguese back with the Rojiblancos, and if truth be told, the more temporary that arrangement, the better.

What next for Joao Felix?

‘I’m told that Al Hilal have contacted Atletico Madrid over a loan deal for Joao Felix, as the only option for the player to go to Al Hilal this summer is on loan and then return to Europe in summer 2024,’ Fabrizio Romano wrote in his exclusive CaughtOffside Substack.

‘The answer they received from Atletico Madrid is no, so let’s see what happens later in the window. We know that in August many conditions of the deal could change, but as of today, Atletico Madrid don’t want to let the player leave on loan to Al Hilal, only a permanent transfer.’

Considering that Atleti paid Benfica a handsome €126m/£111m (per Sky Sports) for the player’s services in 2019, his 34 goals for them in three and a half seasons (via transfermarkt) before his Chelsea loan, can be considered to be hugely underwhelming.

Though not an out and out striker, for that kind of spend Atleti have a right to expect more.

Clearly, staying in Spain appeals to the player, even though he might have to reluctantly accept a Saudi switch.

‘Meanwhile, the player is still dreaming of Barcelona or European clubs as a priority, otherwise Saudi could be an option,’ Romano added.

Still just 23 years of age, if he can recapture the form of his Benfica days, Joao Felix will be a super buy for any club. It’s still a big ‘if’ at this stage, however.

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