Man Utd already have green light Felix after missing out on Gakpo

Man Utd's next six Premier League fixtures

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Up until Monday night, Manchester United had been expected to win the race for Cody Gakpo. The Netherlands international came close to moving to Old Trafford back in the summer transfer window and, with Cristiano Ronaldo gone, the stars seemed to be aligning. But with the 23-year-old now heading to Liverpool instead, Joao Felix is a candidate when it comes to potential alternatives…

Manchester United were eyeing Gakpo in the summer at a time where they were struggling to bring in Antony from Ajax.

But they ended up having to drop interest in the Netherlands international, with Ajax eventually agreeing to let Antony move to the Premier League for a huge £86million transfer fee.

United had been considered frontrunners in the race to land Gakpo this winter, particularly following the sudden departure of Cristiano Ronaldo last month.

Yet they’ve now missed out on the 23-year-old, who will be heading to Liverpool instead after Jurgen Klopp’s side agreed a £37m fee with PSV Eindhoven for their prized asset.

With United no longer primed to land Gakpo, they’re eyeing alternatives. Erik ten Hag wants a new striker, something he’s now publicly admitted on a number of occasions.

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And Felix is one name being linked.

Speculation tipping the Portugal international to move to Old Trafford is nothing new, of course. He was on United’s radar in 2019, having shot to prominence in his homeland with Benfica.

With the Red Devils prioritising Jadon Sancho at the time, a pursuit that wouldn’t pay off until two years later, that paved the way for the young forward to move to Atletico instead.

Atletico spent an eye-watering £114m on the 23-year-old three years ago, believing he’d be the perfect long-term replacement for Antoine Griezmann.

Yet though he’s had his moments with the La Liga giants during his three-year stint, he’s never lived up to expectations at the Metropolitano Stadium.

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Now, Atletico have given the green light for Felix to leave the club on loan in the New Year – with manager Diego Simeone tired of his inconsistency.

And though Chelsea and Arsenal have both been linked with the former Benfica star, United’s need is arguably the greatest.

Felix would be an exciting addition for Ten Hag’s side, with the Portugal international still regarded as one of the most talented players of his generation.

United have seen Portuguese players such as Ronaldo, Nani and Bruno Fernandes shine over the years – something that could help them bring the Atletico star in.

Likewise their relationship with Jorge Mendes, something that remains positive despite Ronaldo shocking everyone with the way he engineered his exit.

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United are, of course, being linked with a number of different players as well.

Rafael Leao is another possible option, though it’s hard to see AC Milan letting their prized asset go when the transfer window reopens next month.

And there have been links to Alvaro Morata and Goncalo Ramos, too, after the duo enjoyed positive World Cup campaigns.

With Atletico willing to offload Felix temporarily next month, however, United already have a green light to strike a deal.

Whether the Glazers and Ten Hag provide their own, however, is something only time will tell.

Meanwhile, regarding Arsenal’s own links to Felix, former Liverpool star Steve Nicol recently suggested the Atletico star wouldn’t be the right fit for the Gunners.

“I don’t think Odegaard will be too happy with it if he appeared,” he stated. “No, it doesn’t seem the right fit. I like what they’ve got going now. It’s unfortunate Jesus is injured.

“But the whole thing they’ve got going now seems right – Joao Felix coming in could blow that up a little bit.”

Felix could be involved when Atletico lock horns with Elche in their La Liga clash on Thursday night (8.30pm).

They go into the game sitting fifth in the league table, 13 points behind Barcelona at the summit.

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