2EWWDP0 3rd March 2021; Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal; Taca De Portugal Football, FC Porto versus Braga; Otavio of FC Porto

Claims Liverpool are in “advanced” talks to sign Porto midfielder for £34m

Liverpool’s quest to sign a new midfielder may have landed on Porto’s Otavio, with a Portuguese newspaper claiming the two clubs are in “advanced talks.”

With Gini Wijnaldum having left the Reds to join PSG on a free transfer, much of the summer’s speculation so far has surrounded the search for a replacement.

Borussia Monchengladbach’s Florian Neuhaus was suggested as the priority target, while interest has also been reported in Brighton‘s Yves Bissouma, Aston Villa‘s John McGinn, Lille’s Renato Sanches and Ajax’s Ryan Gravenberch.

Now another target has been thrown up, with Portuguese newspaper A Bola going as far as to claim Liverpool are in “advanced” talks to sign Porto’s Otavio.

Jurgen Klopp is described as a “confessed lover” of the 26-year-old’s “footballing qualities,” and there are “already negotiations” between the two clubs regarding a deal.

Porto are said to be holding out for Otavio’s release clause, which currently stands at €40 million (£34.3m) but will increase to €60 million (£51.5m) on Thursday.

It is suggested, then, that Liverpool would look to “speed up the process in the next few hours,” and Porto “will not waste the opportunity” to cash in on the player despite his key role under Sergio Conceicao.

2ECF3YJ Dragao Stadium, Porto, Portugal. 13th Feb, 2021. Portuguese Championship Football, FC Porto versus Boa Vista; Marko Grujic of FC Porto chases the through ball Credit: Action Plus Sports/Alamy Live News

Whether A Bola‘s claims are genuine or not is unclear, but the newspaper has closely covered Porto’s interest in Reds midfielder Marko Grujic, which has been corroborated by sources on Merseyside.

In fact, the availability of Grujic – who is valued at around £15 million – could aid Liverpool if they are looking to bring Otavio to Anfield this summer.

A Bola have speculated elsewhere that the Reds could use Grujic to “lower the price” when it comes to Porto’s No. 25, and if they are holding out for his release clause, that would effectively make signing Otavio worth under £20 million.

All parties, namely Liverpool, Porto, Otavio and Grujic, would all be required to agree terms, which could prove difficult given the timeframe of the release clause, which expires on July 1.

Grujic is currently on holiday in Greece, but is not unfamiliar to changing clubs in strange circumstances, having agreed to join Porto on a season-long loan while in an airport in Oslo last October.

Otavio, now a Portuguese citizen, is a versatile midfielder who can play on either flank, as a No. 8, No. 10 and even further forward, which is similar to Wijnaldum prior to his switch to Liverpool in 2016.