Leeds readying £34m bid for assist king Otavio, as release clause confusion gives Marsch guaranteed path

Kostas Tsimikas being tackled by Otavio in a Champions League match

Leeds are prepared to offer around £34m to sign a potential Raphinha replacement in Otavio, though there is confusion surrounding the FC Porto ace’s release clause, per a report.

Jesse Marsch’s side have already brought three new faces on board this summer. Hoping to avoid a repeat of last season’s near miss with relegation, Brenden Aaronson, Rasmus Kristensen and Marc Roca have all arrived nice and early.

However, Leeds’ plans could be dealt a pair of serious blows pending the futures of Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha.

The duo are unquestionably the two brightest sparks at Elland Road. Losing one – or both – would be a huge setback.

Phillips is a target for Man City who want to replace Fernandinho. Raphinha, meanwhile, has a lengthy list of suitors including London trio Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham. Barcelona, as ever, cannot be discounted from the Brazilian’s sweepstakes.

Leeds have been linked with the likes of Charles De Ketelaere and Cody Gakpo in the event Raphinha does depart.

However, according to the Portuguese press, it is Otavio who is firmly in their sights.

Friday’s edition of A Bola claim Leeds have in fact already had a £25.7m bid for the 27-year-old rejected. But not to be deterred, it’s stated a new ‘€40m (£34.3m) proposal is on the way’.

Porto won’t part ways easily

Leeds aren’t reportedly the only Premier League side exploring a move. The identities of the other contenders aren’t named, and it’s claimed Leeds’ interest is the most concrete anyway.

Otavio, 27, is reportedly Porto’s highest paid player and is a crucial cog in Sergio Conceicao’s machine. As such, it comes as no surprise to learn the apparent initial bid was rebuffed.

The Portugal international has developed a reputation as something of an assist machine.

Operating primarily on the right of midfield last year, Otavio laid on 15 assists across all competitions. His two prior seasons produced 12 and 15 assists respectively.

Otavio representing Porto

A Bola’s information is summarised by Sport Witness who note there is confusion regarding the player’s release clause.

Some reports have claimed it is at the €60m (£51.45m) mark, while others claim it’s locked at €40m (£34.3m) until mid-July.

If the report is accurate and Leeds are prepping a £34.3m bid, they may be about to activate the release clause.

However, triggering the clause would require the fee to be paid up front and in full.

In contrast, offering £34.3m in instalments over a number of years is something Leeds may require if making a move before Raphinha is sold.

Though naturally, a bid of that nature would not be to Porto’s liking. They would want cash readily available to sign a suitable replacement in good time.

Would Otavio replace Raphinha?

Otavio has generally operated on the right of midfield, slightly deeper than where Raphinha is accustomed to playing.

Regardless, Sport Witness deem him an appropriate successor and he clearly has the creativity to be effective higher up the pitch.

Otavio was regularly linked with Liverpool through the spring months following their Luis Diaz success. Reports dating back to March backed up the current claims of a release clause that will jump in value after mid-July.

Ultimately, the favoured scenario of many Leeds fans will be Raphinha staying. The Brazilian was by far and a way their most effective attacker last season and but for a poor patch of form post-Christmas, was a constant threat throughout.