Aston Villa could sign the perfect player for Steven Gerrard this summer…
In recent days, the Midlands outfit have been linked with a move for Porto playmaker Otavio, though it’s thought that they would have to trigger his release clause to secure his signature.
Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manha (via Sport Witness) claim that Villa’s reported bid of €30m (£25m) plus €5m (£4.2m) in add-ons isn’t enough and that the Primeira Liga giants are wanting the full €40m (£34m) paid upfront.
However, his release clause will rise to €60m (£51m) on July 15th, so sporting director Johan Lange will need to act quickly or risk paying another €20m (£17m).
After bolstering two key positions in central defence, with Diego Carlos, and defensive midfield, with Boubacar Kamara, it would make sense for Gerrard to improve the attack in some form in preparation for the new Premier League season.
Philippe Coutinho, 30, has also returned to the club on a permanent deal following a successful loan spell, though the jury is still out on whether he can sustain last season’s level of performance of five goals and three assists in 19 appearances.
Those around him largely faltered last season as we’re yet to see the best of Emi Buendia, Leon Bailey and Bertrand Traore.
Otavio provides an interesting option for Villa in the final third. In fact, the 27-year-old dynamo has been described as the “perfect fit” for Gerrard due to his attacking characteristics.
That’s according to PGR Analytics, who has analysed the Porto star for the Birmingham Mail, where he highlights his versatility in being able to play on the right flank or through the middle as a no.10 – much like Buendia.
Meanwhile, compared to his positional peers in both roles, the Portugal international ranks favourably in some key metrics that’ll catch the eye of the Liverpool legend.
Indeed, as per FBref, Otavio sits amongst the top 1% across Europe for pressures (28.99 per 90) and tackles (3.03 per 90), the top 2% for blocks (2.27 per 90), the top 5% for shot-creating actions (5.17 per 90) and the top 8% for progressive passes (5.42 per 90).
This means he is a relentless presence when the opposition has the ball, even despite being an attack-minded player himself, and one capable of providing creativity. By comparison, Coutinho has managed only 3.29 shot-creating actions per 90 and 8.52 progressive carries per 90.
It’s no wonder Portuguese talent scout Alex Goncalves has lauded the playmaking sensation as “phenomenal,” so that review combined with the above evidence, surely makes Otavio a wonderful signing for Villa to make.
Lange and co must now make their move because £34m is a bargain compared to the £51m they’ll have to pay later this month. He’s evidently a perfect fit for Gerrard and his system, so it’s time to strike.
AND in other news, Journalist drops Alessio Romagnoli transfer claim…