Liverpool doing more transfer business this summer is considered unlikely with the club likelier to wait until 2023 before more big moves are made — but nothing can be completely ruled out.
In January, no one expected that the Reds would be busy right until the last few days of the window. They splashed a potential £49m on Luis Díaz and attempted to bring in Fulham starlet Fábio Carvalho — a move that ultimately happened a few months later.
The deal for Díaz came out of the blue even to Liverpool, who had intended on signing the Colombian this summer, but their hand was forced when Tottenham and West Ham entered the picture for the Porto man, and Michael Edwards and Julian Ward pounced.
In this transfer window, another few Porto players have been linked with moves to Anfield. Fábio Vieira was a mooted target before he moved to Arsenal for a fee of around £34m, and forward Evanilson has other Premier League interest too.
Attacking midfielder Otávio is the latest name to be linked with a transfer to Liverpool, with Porto said to be anticipating a bid from the Reds this week.
With a £51m release clause, Otávio, who was also linked with Liverpool last summer, is supposedly valued at £38m. Leeds United have made an offer of £26m that was rejected as they prepare to lose Raphinha, while Porto are said, according to the Daily Mirror, to be ‘expecting’ Liverpool to make an offer within £4m of the player’s asking price in the coming days.
Otávio can play off the right-hand side or as a number 10. In a Liverpool team playing 4-3-3, he could also slot in as a more creative option as a number eight.
His numbers are excellent, too. The Portugal international is in the 95th percentile for shot-creating actions compared to other attacking midfielders across Europe’s top five leagues.
Meanwhile, he is in the 99th percentile for both pressures and tackles, and the 86th for aerial duels won. In terms of progressive passing, Otávio is in the 92nd percentile, making him a player with incision and quality.
That kind of creativity and ability to pop up all over the field, while also being defensively diligent, is similar almost to Bernardo Silva at Manchester City — his international teammate who has made himself the ultimate, unplayable modern midfielder.
FBref places Otávio most stylistically similar to West Ham’s Pablo Fornals — another midfielder in the same relentless but hugely talented mould — but the 27-year-old has much more quality, shown by his 19 goal contributions (five goals and 14 assists), including in the Champions League, last season.
Whether there is any interest in Otávio or not, and whether that potential interest is ever firmed up, remains to be seen. But if, for example, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was moved on this summer, Otávio could be the ideal upgrade.