Ten Hag could unearth Man United’s next Wayne Rooney by signing £113m “sensation”

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Manchester United have been handed a major boost in their pursuit of Atletico Madrid phenom Joao Felix, with a bidding war for his services set to arise over the coming period.

Reports from Spain are indicating that Atletico Madrid will listen to offers for their offensive whiz, after weeks of speculation concerning the 23-year-old’s future. 

Signing for the Spanish giants for a fee of £113m from SL Benfica in 2019, Felix has not quite enjoyed the ride he envisaged under Diego Simeone’s tutelage, with the Argentine manager’s defensive philosophy somewhat clashing with Felix’s breezing forward approach.

With United’s interest stretching back to the summer, a solution that will benefit all parties could materialise in the near future. 

Erik ten Hag’s team are reportedly among the frontrunners to lure the forward away from the Wanda Metropolitano, and the United boss could have his very own Wayne Rooney-esque ace on his hands. 

Rooney, one of the Premier League and Manchester United’s greatest forwards, offered a unique skill-set and a towering physicality that captivated fans for years, and while Felix is not quite the same player, he could adopt the approach that the 37-year-old took with aplomb.

Both players possessing devious stratagems to outwit opponents on the pitch, and an elegance and grace on the ball that most forwards can only dream of, means that Felix can emulate the former phenom and provide a new dimension to the United attack.

As per FBref, the 27-cap Portuguese star ranks within the top 11% for progressive passes and the top 13% for completed dribbles when compared to positional peers across Europe’s big five leagues this past year.

Effectively, United would add a forward to the ranks that knits the collective offence together, aiding the transitions from midfield to attack.

And while Felix hasn’t reached the heights expected in Madrid, only scoring 33 goals and registering 18 assists in 129 matches, the abundant quality will surely shine through in a more offence-minded team.

But with the ace starring for Portugal at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, putting in an average 7.33 rating, as per Sofascore, as the nation breezed into the quarter-finals, the notion that he would serve as a focal point in a team with more onus on attack is only magnified.

If United boss Erik ten Hag is successful in his pursuit, he will wield a unique centre-forward boasting a range of offensive skills, as Rooney did, perhaps capable of bridging the gap that has left the club devoid of success for several years now.

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