Otavio swap off the menu as Porto push hard to sign Liverpool man

Marko Grujic TEAMtalk

Porto are stepping up their efforts to bring in Liverpool midfielder Marko Grujic this summer and are reportedly getting nearer to reaching an agreement over a fee with the Reds.

Grujic has had to be very patient for opportunities since becoming Jurgen Klopp’s first signing as Liverpool boss. Five years on from his arrival, the midfielder has made only 16 appearances for the club. He spent last season on loan at Porto, the fourth time he has had to leave on such terms.

His season in Portugal was the busiest of his career so far, as he made 36 appearances in all competitions. That included some experience in the Champions League, while he also scored two goals on Porto’s route to a second-place finish.

Now, at the age of 25, he is at a career crossroads. There are still two years left to run on his Liverpool contract. However, it seems unlikely he is to get many more opportunities there.

Indeed, as per Record, Porto now hope to make his signing a permanent one. They are reported to now have accelerated talks with Liverpool over his transfer and are closing on an agreement.

Liverpool are reportedly holding out for a €17m (£14.5m) fee for Grujic, with Porto’s initial offer believed to be €10m (£8.5m). However, the two sides could meet in the middle with a €13m (£11.1m) fee likely to tempt the Reds to sell.

Reflecting on the past year, he told Sportske (via Sport Witness): “I’m only sorry that I didn’t play in front of the fans.

July 7 Transfer Chatter - Chelsea offered Barcelona forward, Aston Villa pushing for Emile Smith-Rowe and Spurs join Kounde race

July 7 Transfer Chatter - Chelsea offered Barcelona forward, Aston Villa pushing for Emile Smith-Rowe and Spurs join Kounde race

Chelsea offered Barcelona attacker for cheap due to the financial crisis at the club, Aston Villa to make third bid for Arsenal starlet and Tottenham to lodge opening bid in the race for Jules Kounde, all in today's transfer chatter.

“All my teammates and people in the club say it’s a fantastic atmosphere. However, my career is long and I’m sure I’ll have the opportunity to play at the Estadio do Dragao again.”

He added: “I will soon join Liverpool’s preparations, to do that basic part, so we’ll see the next step. We’ll see which club I’m going to play for; I don’t know at the moment.

“But as for the blue colours, I think I’ve done well in the last three seasons. Of course, it can always be better!”

Otavio swap unlikely

With Porto hoping to secure a deal for Grujic, it now seems unlikely that Liverpool will secure a swap involving Otavio.

The 26-year-old Brazilian appears to be the Reds’ leading target to replace Georginio Wijnaldum in the engine room.

Liverpool have had links with the Portuguese midfielder for a number of weeks now. Initial claims were that the 26-year-old was driving the interest from his own end, trying to seal a move to Anfield.

The midfielder has been with Porto since 2014 and has made close to 200 appearances. In that time, he’s scored 19 goals and contributed 49 assists.

But a change looks a growing possibility this summer. Furthermore, the player’s agent has now seemingly cleared Klopp to push through his signing.

“If it’s good for Porto and for Otavio,” he told Portuguese outlet A Bola when he asked about his client’s future.

Otavio‘s exit clause increased from £34million to £51.5m at the beginning of July.

However, there’s a growing belief Porto will allow him to leave for considerably less. Indeed, Porto are reportedly willing to sell him for a fee they deem ‘fair’ and a notable discount appears to be on the cards.

Any deal though is likely to be separate from the one that could take Grujic in the opposite direction.

READ MORE ~ Euro Paper Talk: Liverpool make calls after ‘monstrous offer’ claim