Joao Felix can still give Arsenal a huge Champions League boost amid summer transfer talk
Many eyes were on Joao Felix in Atletico Madrid’s Champions League Round of 16 first leg with Manchester United on Wednesday night.
And it’s safe to say in the eyes of many Arsenal supporters, he didn’t disappoint.
After breaking the deadlock with a bright head, fans on social media made it clear to Gunners technical director Edu that Felix would be the perfect addition to Mikel Arteta’s squad during the summer transfer window.
The Portugal international’s signing request comes on the heels of the 22-year-old being linked with a move to the north London side after a difficult spell in Spain.
Whether Felix will join Arsenal this summer remains to be seen, but he can give the club a huge boost to qualifying for the Champions League next season.
Although Anthony Elanga’s late goal nullified his earlier efforts to draw 1-1 at Man United, the knockout stages are delicately ready ahead of the second leg at Old Trafford on March 15.
With the away goals rule being scrapped this season, it means a goalless draw won’t be a disastrous result for Atletico, as the game would then be settled after extra time and possibly penalties.
Although, if Felix can get on the scoresheet at ‘Theatre of Dreams’ and Diego Simeone’s side manage to keep a clean sheet, it would confirm Man United’s exit from the competition.
And that would be great news for the Gunners.
As things stand, Arsenal are in control of their own destiny when it comes to the top four.
Maximum points from their remaining 14 matches of the campaign will confirm their best Premier League finish in six years as they were runners-up to Leicester City in the 2015/16 season.
However, finishing fourth might not be enough to secure a Champions League return as long as Man United and West Ham United are still competing in Europe.
Due to a change in UEFA regulations in 2013, no more than five teams from the same league can participate in Europe’s elite competition, creating a potential nightmare scenario for Arsenal.
If Man United win the Champions League AND West Ham win the Europa League – and neither finish in the top four – so only the top three in the Premier League will qualify for the Champions League.
With the Hammers currently outside the top four, this nightmare scenario could come true, especially as the Red Devils are vulnerable in fourth as they have played two more games than the Gunners.
Which teams do you love to hate? Which teams do you have a weakness for? Take part in our League of Love & Hate survey
Of course, Arsenal won’t want to suffer the same fate as bitter rivals Tottenham when they missed out on Champions League football despite finishing fourth as Chelsea took their place after lifting the trophy in May 2012.
As a result, they will be praying for Man United and West Ham to be knocked out of Europe as soon as possible.
The fate of the former will be decided 24 hours before the Hammers are in the Europa League Round of 16 second leg, so Felix can ensure Arsenal avoid the aforementioned potential nightmare scenario by playing a role in Man’s exit. Champions League United.