Liverpool are chasing the signature of Porto forward Otavio and are understood to be in advanced talks with the Portuguese side over a deal.
Jurgen Klopp is keen to find some more firepower this summer to cover for his star trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. There are expected to be departures for Xherdan Shaqiri, Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi and Harry Wilson, further emphasising the need to improve squad depth.
Otavio bagged five goals and 12 assists for Porto in all competitions last season, spending most of his time as a left winger but playing all over the forward line at times.
Weirdly enough, this report suggests that Otavio could replace Georginio Wijnaldum at Anfield, but the two players could hardly be more different. If he joins, it’s as a backup winger, not a starting central midfielder.
Nevertheless, Porto are reluctant to sell and have pointed Liverpool to Otavio’s release clause, which currently sits at around the £34m mark. However, that fee is said to only be valid until June 30, when it will jump up to £51m.
There is a little uncertainty over when that clause changes. Record (via Sport Witness) have previously suggested that July 15 is the deadline for a team to sign Otavio for £34m, so that is likely the subject of Liverpool’s discussions.
With both deadlines looming, Liverpool are thought to be pushing hard to get a deal over the line as soon as possible and are keen to keep Porto’s desire to sign Marko Grujic out of talks to keep things simpler.
That works for Porto, who have voiced their intention to sign Grujic permanently and plan to do so regardless of whether Otavio ends up moving in the opposite direction or not.
£34m is a lot of money to spend on a backup player, but Liverpool may be left with no other choice. The lack of genuine depth behind Klopp’s star trio has been a problem for a while now, with Diogo Jota’s arrival offering a small glimpse of hope, so spending big on Otavio may be the club’s only option.
That sort of money could be raised by offloading their fringe forwards. Shaqiri has attracted interest from Serie A and could generate the biggest sum, with a price tag of around £13m slapped on his head.