Aston Villa added some serious talent to their squad in the summer, with the likes of Boubacar Kamara, Diego Carlos, and Philippe Coutinho all arriving on permanent deals under former manager Steven Gerrard.
It could have been even better too, as the club scouted Portuguese midfielder Otavio in August according to A Bola (via Sport Witness) ahead of a potential move, but it didn’t happen and the club may have regretted it ever since.
It was believed during the summer that a fee of around £38m would have been enough for FC Porto to sell, and it is the Portuguese side who have emerged victorious, managing to keep the player. Now, he is now staring at the World Cup.
During Portugal’s opening 3-2 win over Ghana, Otavio started in the midfield and contributed towards an important victory. The 27-year-old was only on the pitch for 56 minutes but achieved a hugely impressive SofaScore rating of 7.5/10, took 50 touches, and made one key pass and won five ground duels during his time on the pitch.
It was a solid performance and he could be a key player for the team during the remainder of the competition, especially since he has brought his club form to Qatar.
This season, the midfielder has an incredible average rating of 7.65/10 for Porto in ten league appearances, and it’s no wonder Aston Villa were scouting him during the summer.
He has averaged 2.5 key passes per match – more than any Villa player – and with 67.3 touches of the ball on average each game, he never shies away from the action, constantly looking to get involved and making a mark on the match.
Attacking-wise, the player has been exceptional, especially compared to positional peers in Europe’s big five leagues. He ranks in the top 3% for progressive passes (6.20 per 90), top 2% for touches in the opposition penalty area (3.59), and in the top 1% for shot-creating actions (5.42) proving he is clearly one of the finest players, statistically anyway, in Europe at the minute.
There’s no doubt his value will rise significantly post-World Cup and this may price Unai Emery out of any potential January move. The club certainly had a mare in the summer over the 27-year-old sensation.