Roberto Firmino’s transfer decision could have a massive bearing on the business Manchester United complete during the January window.
Firmino, 31, is set to become a free agent this summer as his current Liverpool contract will expire in June. The Reds have reportedly offered a contract extension to Firmino, but the Brazilian is yet to accept this deal, casting his future into doubt.
The forward joined Liverpool back in 2015 and signed a new deal three years later, but could be on his way out the door after seven-and-a-half years at Anfield.
READ: Klopp makes major Roberto Firmino statement after Gakpo transfer
Atletico Madrid have registered their interest in Firmino, with Diego Simeone keen to add the 31-year-old to his attacking roster, according to Fichajes. With Firmino out of contract in a few months time, he is able to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with clubs on the continent, which allows Atleti to begin talks over a potential move.
It seems unlikely that Firmino will leave Liverpool this month, but the Reds may attempt to offload him in order to recoup some of the €41 million they paid Hoffenheim for his services.
With the departure of Matheus Cunha to Wolverhampton Wanderers, Atletico may welcome an early arrival for Firmino as they bid to finish in the Champions League spots in La Liga.
READ: Man Utd and Arsenal given Joao Felix boost as Simeone’s ‘anger is increasing’
Why Firmino’s future matters to Man Utd
If Firmino does leave, either in January or agrees a pre-contract deal for the summer, Atletico Madrid are more likely to allow Joao Felix to leave the club and may, in fact, lower their asking price in an attempt to ship him away from the club.
Currently, Felix is available on a short-term loan deal, and with Simeone growing restless over his transfer saga, Atleti are open to offloading the Portuguese international this month.
That opens the door for Man Utd, who are one of the teams reportedly interested in signing Felix. The Red Devils are in the market for a new forward having terminated Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract before the World Cup and missed out on primary transfer target Cody Gakpo, who has joined Liverpool.
Felix is one name on their transfer wish-list and if Firmino to Atletico Madrid goes through, then it increases the chances of the former Benfica man leaving.
It’s not guaranteed that Felix departs the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium even if Firmino arrives, but it certainly makes it more likely that Man Utd are able to land the 23-year-old.