Chelsea are poised to sign João Félix on loan from Atlético Madrid for the rest of the season as they try to find a way out of the slump that left them off the pace in the Premier League and out of the FA Cup.
Chelsea will pay about €10m (£8.8m) to borrow the Portugal forward and no buy option is expected to be included. Félix, who joined Atlético for €126m from Benfica in July 2019, has started seven of his club’s 16 league matches this season.
The urgency with which Chelsea have pushed for the 23-year-old accelerated after injuries to Raheem Sterling, Christian Pulisic, Armando Broja and most recently Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who missed Sunday’s 4-0 FA Cup defeat at Manchester City with a back complaint.
Félix, who can play as a second striker, winger or centre-forward, is not the only player wanted by Chelsea, who have this month brought in David Datro Fofana and Benoît Badiashile and reached an agreement for the young Vasco da Gama midfielder Andrey Santos.
The Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernández is a key target, although the Portuguese club have accused Chelsea of acting disrespectfully in their pursuit of the Argentinian and said he will not leave unless the buyout clause – understood to be €120m – is met. Positive talks have been held over a deal for the Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhailo Mudryk but his preference is to join Arsenal.
Chelsea’s co-owners, Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, are determined to back Graham Potter, whose suitability as head coach has been questioned by some fans. The team have lost five, drawn one and won one of their past seven matches and next face a Premier League derby at Fulham on Thursday, sitting 10 points off fourth place.