Reliable(ish? No?) sources claim the 19-year-old Benfica midfielder João Félix was the target of a shock £61m bid from Liverpool in the recent winter transfer window. The mammoth play has apparently sparked a bidding war for a player no one outside of the player’s native Portugal had heard of way back in 2018.
The rail-thin teenager dubbed the “next Ronaldo” has had a solid campaign to date, bagging 10 goals and six assists across all competitions, including the Europa League .
Additionally, an impressive collection of Youtube highlight videos set to generic pulsing jungle house music have naturally justified the £105m release clause said to be the asking price required to procure the youngster’s services.
All well and good, but first, a few questions: is Felix only the “next Ronaldo” because he’s also Portuguese? Were he to hail from any other country in the world, would he instead be the “[insert nationality] Messi”? Are we sure that spindly frame could withstand a Harry Maguire shoulder barge? How deep exactly are Liverpool Sporting Director, Michael “High Roller” Edwards’ pockets?
Benfica president, Luís Filipe Vieira, for one would like to put an end to such lines of questioning, going on record recently in the club’s official paper as saying the Portuguese giants absolutely have zero plans to sell and actually would have us all know that there is more to life than massive financial windfalls gained from selling top talent at inflated prices. Things like horticulture.
“Each day, the Club is more solid and robust, more and more autonomous,” Vieira said. “Today we no longer have to make ineligible sales to balance our accounts,” presumably in reference to the completely 100% legal sales of hugely-talented Portuguese players represented by Portuguese super agent, Jorges Mendes to a club managed by Portuguese coach Nuno Espírito Santo.
“I reaffirm that we have no objective to sell our main players who have now arrived from Seixal. With each passing day, these young talents are more valued and prove the good vision, direction and strategy we had.
“As a first step, the need to overcome financial constraints has led to the need to make and take advantage of some sales opportunities. Today, only legal requirements defined by the clauses of sales clauses can lead us to this.”
So do we go with the FOMO? The next Ronaldo would be nice to have handy. Especially given that Mohamed Salah could use a spell every once in a while. Stay tuned.