Joan Laporta explains how Barcelona nearly signed Joao Felix last summer
Barcelona president Joan Laporta has revealed his admiration for Atletico Madrid superstar Joao Felix, and given an account of how the club nearly lured him to Catalonia last summer.
The Portuguese signed for Atleti in 2019 for a massive £104.1m fee, and while his production has been fairly hit-and-miss for Diego Simeone’s side, he is clearly a player overflowing with quality, as Laporta has recognised.
“I really like Joao Felix, it’s a pleasure to see him playing football,” the Barcelona president told RAC1.
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He then expanded on how Barcelona tried to secure the Portuguese player last summer during negotiations with Antoine Griezmann — who moved to Madrid in a season-long loan move — but an agreement ultimately failed to materialise between both parties.
Laporta added: “Last summer we were working to complete a swap deal with Atletico Madrid for Felix and Griezmann, then it collapsed.”
A swap between both men would have been a seismic shake-up to La Liga given the quality it would have handed Barcelona, which is perhaps why Atleti didn’t go through with the deal.
After all, in the summer of 2020 Barcelona agreed to send Luis Suarez to Atleti, and that deal ended up being the catalyst for them to push on and win their second La Liga title under Simeone last campaign.
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While Felix has just 19 goals and 11 assists for Atletico Madrid in La Liga since signing for them from Benfica, he’s also endured his fair share of injury issues, plus the added strain of trying to adapt to an entirely different set-up under Simeone.
That adaptation issue could have meant a swap deal would have favoured both parties, but Atleti perhaps realised the dangers of selling a 22-year-old, nine-figure player to a direct rival, in return for a 31-year-old former fling.
So Joan Laporta will have to go on admiring Joao Felix from afar, with respect.
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