Joao Felix joins Chelsea on loan from Atletico Madrid until end of season

Portugal international joins Premier League club

Joao Felix has joined Chelsea on loan until the end of the season. EPA
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Portuguese forward Joao Felix has joined Chelsea on loan from Atletico Madrid until the end of the season, the Premier League club announced on Wednesday.

Chelsea have reportedly paid Atletico an €11m ($11.8m) loan fee and will cover the 23-year-old's wages for the duration of his spell at Stamford Bridge.

Felix becomes the fourth new arrival at Chelsea this month, following the permanent signings of France international defender Benoit Badiashile from Monaco, Brazilian teenager Andrey Santos from Vasco de Gama, and Ivorian striker David Datro Fofana.

The Portugal international will add to manager Graham Potter's attacking options and will aim to provide a boost to a struggling side which has scored just 20 goals in 17 Premier League games this season and languish 10th in the table.

It was reported that Arsenal and Manchester United were also both interested in a loan deal for Felix but were unwilling to pay the sort of loan free Atletico expected.

“Chelsea is one of the great teams in the world and I hope to help the team reach their objectives, so I am very, very happy to be here and very excited to play at Stamford Bridge,” Felix said in a statement.

Felix was made the second-most expensive teenager in history, after Kylian Mbappe, when he joined Atletico as a 19-year-old from Benfica for €126m and has provided 34 goals and 18 assists in 131 appearances across all competitions, helping the club win La Liga in 2021.

However, Felix, who has four goals and three assists in 14 La Liga appearances this season, has not quite fulfilled Atletico's huge ambition for the Portuguese forward, whom the club viewed as the player to lead the team into a new era.

And Atletico CEO Miguel Angel Gil Marin admitted last month that Felix was looking to leave due to a strained relationship with manager Diego Simeone, although the club were keen to him to stay.

“He is the biggest transfer that the club has made. I think he can play at the highest level in the world, but for the reasons that are not worth saying now, the relationship between the coach and him is not good,” Marin said. “Neither is his motivation. The reasonable thing is to think that he will leave. Although I would love him to stay here, he doesn’t want to remain at the club.”

Felix was part of the Portugal squad which reached the World Cup quarter-finals in Qatar, starting all but one game and scoring once and providing two assists.

Updated: January 11, 2023, 1:15 PM
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