Official: 18-year-old Arsenal target puts pen to paper on new long-term deal

LISBON, PORTUGAL - SEPTEMBER 23: Joao Felix of SL Benfica in action during the Liga NOS match between SL Benfica and CD Aves at Estadio da Luz on September 23, 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)

Liga NOS giants Benfica starlet Joao Felix has signed a contract extension to remain at the current club, despite transfer links to Unai Emery’s Arsenal earlier this year, the Portuguese club officially confirms.

According to reports in March, the London-based outfit sent scouts to watch the 18-year-old sensation play on a number of occasions.

There was clearly interest from Arsenal, which would have only increased as Joao started this campaign with two goals and an assist in just 152 league minutes.

Portuguese prodigy also has four goals in eight matches for the Portugal Under-21s, scoring in both of the international breaks this season.

Benfica were well aware of the risk of losing their prized asset, so they’ve given him a new five-year deal that will run until 2023.

Felix’s release (buy-out) clause was already high, at €60 million, but the club’s management reportedly increased that to €120 million, a Portuguese record.

Arsenal were never the only club following Joao as various reports from England and Portugal suggested Manchester City, AS Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, AC Milan, West Ham United and Chelsea were all interested.