Benfica have confirmed that a €126 million (£113m/$143m) bid has been made for star forward Joao Felix by Atletico Madrid.
The Portuguese club have revealed that the Spanish outfit have placed a massive bid on the young striker, though it has yet to be accepted.
The Spanish side are looking to rebuild after a number of big-name players, including Antoine Griezmann, confirmed they would be leaving the club this summer, and 19-year-old Felix, who has been compared to Cristiano Ronaldo, is clearly part of the club’s plan moving forward.
Benfica have made clear in a statement released on Wednesday evening that they are considering the offer, but that nothing had yet been accepted.
Though the bid is in excess of Felix’s €120m release clause, Atletico’s insistence that the fee is paid over installments means that Benfica are within their rights to reject the offer.
Felix has impressed in his native Portugal, scoring 15 goals and registering nine assists in just 26 league appearances last season, drawing interest from around Europe.
Juventus were among the teams strongly linked to the youngster, though it seems now that Atletico will win the race for his signature, something that should delight Diego Simeone.
“Historically, Atletico buy young players to develop them here. Like what happened with [Jan] Oblak, [Jose] Gimenez, Lucas Hernandez when they came through from youth teams – or Griezmann,” Simeone told Fox Sports Argentina earlier this month.
“We want a talented guy who can absorb our ideas. Our technical staff is already working on some situations to help to develop players.”
Simeone is dealing with a changing of the guard at Atletico, with a generation of veterans, including Diego Godin, Filipe Luis and Juanfran at the end of their contracts.
But the club have already moved to bring in Real Madrid midfielder Marcos Llorente and defender Felipe from Porto, and the move for Felix would be another boost in the club’s attempt to stay as a perennial contender in both Spain and Europe.
Under Simeone’s watch Atletico finished second in La Liga last season, ahead of city rivals Real and behind champions Barcelona.
And while a substantial rebuild is needed, Simeone is confident he will be able to adjust to new talents such as Felix.
“If Joao Felix and others come with different characteristics than we had before, then we will have to play differently,” he said.
“In training we will see where we are going … It is clear that this year’s challenge is one of the most complex since I arrived at the club.”