Arsenal set to use Odegaard plan in Felix bid and have secret weapon
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Arsenal are hoping they can repeat their trick with Martin Odegaard when it comes to signing Joao Felix, according to reports. The Portugal international is free to leave Atletico Madrid this month now the transfer window has reopened. And though Manchester United are also looking for a new striker, the Gunners appear to be best-placed when it comes to securing the player’s signature.
Arsenal are keen to sign a new striker this month at a time where Gabriel Jesus is sidelined through injury, with Mikel Arteta hoping to steer them to a first Premier League title since 2004.
And they’re one of the teams interested in Felix, who has also attracted interest from Manchester United and Chelsea amid the uncertainty over his future at the club.
Now, according to The Athletic, Arsenal are hoping to land the former Benfica star in a similar way to how they recruited Odegaard.
Back in 2020, they loaned in the Norway international from Real Madrid – providing him with a platform to revive his faltering career and a chance to earn a permanent move.
It worked with the playmaker, too, with Odegaard impressing before Arsenal then signed him on a permanent basis.
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They’re hoping it can be a similar story with Felix, though Atletico’s price for a permanent deal would be far higher given how they spent £114million on the striker back in 2019.
The report adds that Arsenal also have a secret weapon behind the scenes with Felix close to Thomas Partey, who he previously played with in Spain.
Partey moved to the Emirates in October 2020 and has been a key player this season, shining in the middle of the park amid the Gunners’ charge to the summit.
Should a transfer come down to personal choice, it’s possible the Ghana international will be able to persuade his close friend to join him in north London.
While that’s the case, however, it’s worth noting he also has friends at Manchester United.
Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Dalot recently played alongside Felix for Portugal as they reached the quarter-finals of the competition before being beaten by Morocco.
And whether Arsenal are able to land the 23-year-old remains to be seen, with Chelsea another team who can’t be ruled out.
With the Blues struggling to qualify for the Champions League, however, that may count against them – with Graham Potter’s side eighth in the table following a 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest on Sunday.
Arsenal have a mixed record when it comes to signing players in January. For every hit, there’s also been a huge miss.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was a success story upon arriving from Borussia Dortmund in 2018, though Henrikh Mkhitaryan – who also joined that year – disappointed.
Under Arsene Wenger, Arsenal saw Theo Walcott and Emmanuel Adebayor have their good moments.
But Denis Suarez and Kim Kallstrom are remembered for all the wrong reasons having toiled upon arriving from Barcelona and Spartak Moscow respectively.
Meanwhile, ESPN pundit Steve Nicol thinks Odegaard would be unhappy should Felix join him at Arsenal this month.
Speaking recently, the former Liverpool star said: “I don’t think Odegaard will be too happy with it if he appeared.
“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.”
Arsenal are next in action against Newcastle on Tuesday night (7.45pm).
Arteta’s side are seven points clear of Manchester City at the top of the league table following their 4-2 win over Brighton on Saturday night.
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