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Where will new loan signing Joao Felix play for Chelsea?

15:30 EAT 11/01/2023
Joao Felix Chelsea 2022-23
The Portugal international has joined until the end of the season to help solve the Blues' goalscoring problem, but he's never been prolific...

Chelsea's search for an attacker who is actually capable of hitting the back of the net has become desperate. In their latest attempt to remedy their goalscoring woes, the Blues – backed by their free-spending new ownership – have turned to Atletico Madrid wantaway Joao Felix, another player who is far from prolific and does not have a fixed position.

An instant impact, then, is far from guaranteed.

Nevertheless, Chelsea are set to stump up a £10 million loan fee to sign the 23-year-old from Atleti, where he has flattered to deceive since a blockbuster €127m (£112m/$135m) transfer from Benfica in 2019.

The hope will be that the versatile Felix will be able to unlock Chelsea's other toiling attackers, rather than necessarily rattling in a load of goals himself.

GOAL assesses where the new signing could fit in at Stamford Bridge...

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  • Alvaro Morata Joao Felix Atletico Madrid 2022-23

    Felix up front

    Felix has been regularly deployed as a striker in a front two at Atletico Madrid, so technically it is a role he can play.

    However, he has not exactly set the world alight in this system and though it is important to look beyond the figures when making an assessment of a player's suitability, there is only one stat that matters when playing as a centre-forward: goals. And Felix has managed just 25 in 96 appearances for Atleti.

    He's also unlikely to get the chance to play in a two-man attack.

    Chelsea head coach Graham Potter has been changing his formation regularly in a bid to find a winning formula but, for the most part, he's asked one man to lead the line, with a winger either side of the centre-forward, or tucked in behind in a 3-4-2-1.

  • Joao Felix

    Felix's preferred position

    Speaking to The Athletic last year, Felix said: "My best position is as the second forward. Playing like a no.10, with a guy in front of me."

    That opinion may have changed since his impressive World Cup showing, where his starting position was off the left, although he netted from a second striker role in La Liga matches immediately before and after Qatar 2022.

    For Felix to play as a no.10 in a 4-3-3, though, manager's favourite Mason Mount would have to be dislodged, and that seems out of the question.

    Should Potter revert back to a 3-5-2 once Reece James has returned to fitness, then it will become a more attractive proposition, with Felix in a free role behind Kai Havertz.

    A few years ago that would have been a truly mouth-watering prospect, but Felix and Havertz – both 23 – have so far failed to live up to their seemingly ceiling-less potential.

  • Joao Felix Morocco vs. Portugal Qatar 2022

    Felix on the left

    Having rarely played there in the past, we've seen more of Felix on the left this season, both at club and international level.

    Indeed, he has looked something like his best playing as an inverted winger – especially at the World Cup, where he was able to drift out wide, collect possession and utilise his two-footedness to come inside and influence play in the central areas, often creating overloads for the opposition defence.

    He picked up two cute assists in Qatar from those sorts of situations, and Potter will hope he can service his preferred central striker Havertz in the same way.

    The physicality he demonstrated in Portugal's ill-fated campaign will also be encouraging for the Premier League side.

    Felix is press-resistant when required but is also happy to take a heavy challenge when he has drawn his man in – something he and predecessor Eden Hazard have in common.

    On paper, Felix should face serious competition for a starting spot but, in truth, he would be an upgrade on Christian Pulisic or Hakim Ziyech on current form, while Potter prefers Mount in a deeper role anyway.

    So, he'll most likely occupy a wide role, with Raheem Sterling on the opposite wing when fit.