19 Midfielder Porto Brazil
2014 has been...
A change of scenery.
Otávio Edmilson da Silva Monteiro, slight of frame but ample of ability made his debut for Internacional in a drab goalless draw with Santos back in July 2013. Replacing fellow protégé Mike, the João Pessoa born teenager looked at home in a brief quarter of an hour cameo. Making his first start for Colorado within a week, Otávio’s impact was limited against an Atlético MG team with Ronaldinho and Bernard positively fizzing. Withdrawn at half time in Internacional’s next match, in which they would go on to beat Atlético Goianiense in the youngster’s absence, Otávio would not feature again until the following October and made irregular introductions to the team over the closing weeks of the season.
Fast-forward twelve months and, after a shaky start, Otávio really began to play and play regularly. Nimble, deft and adept at opening up defences, by the end of 2013 he was one of the most, if not THE most, impressive young players operating in Brazil’s Serie A.
As expected, 2014 arrived with talk of an impending move and the usual Brazilian format of when rather than if applied. With Borussia Dortmund maintaining a strong, but slightly reserved, interest, Otávio began the 2014 season on the bench, kept out of the team by the creative midfield talent of veterans Alex and Andrés D’Alessandro.
Otávio was never likely to be in contention for a place in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s World Cup squad, and a combination of injury and inexperience have largely wiped out the bulk of 2014 for him. At Internacional, returning coach Abel Braga has been able to rely on a largely settled and very experienced first eleven that have pushed for the Série A title. With opportunities at a premium, but his stock still relatively high, a £6m bid for Otávio from Porto was accepted as the European transfer window drew to a close in the summer.
Still particularly lightweight, Otávio hasn’t been ushered straight into first team duty at the Dragão, instead he’s gradually feeling his way into things in Portugal’s Segunda Liga for Porto’s youthful B team.
In some ways, we’ve been pretty disappointed with Otávio’s 2014. There’s something of a dearth of young talent in Brazil right now and we genuinely felt that he would have a good chance of lighting up the league for Internacional. However, his former club have done more than well enough in his absence and we certainly wouldn’t question Abel Braga’s team selection. This is a club at which he won a Libertadores title not that long ago after all.
The transfer to Europe arrived and Otávio certainly hasn’t drifted off the radar. It’s one of those good old-fashioned moves too; the hop from Brazil across the Atlantic to Portugal is considerable in distance, but never too demanding culturally. If Europe had been on the agenda eighteen months ago, Otávio would probably be trying to work out how to get out of Ukraine right now.
He’s at a superb club with a set up entirely geared to gradually bringing their talented young assets to the fore and a glance around the dressing room will show as something of a who’s who of football’s youthful gifted; Igor Lichnovsky, Diego Reyes, André Silva and Ivo Rodrigues to name but a few.
A brightly lit route to the first team is clearly available at Porto and Otávio has the ability to challenge Yacine Brahimi, Juan Quintero and Olivier Torres in the not too distant. In the short term, getting a regular start for the B team will be enough and two quick fire goals in the 7-0 routing of Olahense recently will have left the youngster hungry for more.
Ultimately, 2014 has been largely devoid of football and, transfer apart, no real progress has been made. We’re unlikely to see Otávio making a name for himself in 2015, but this is a tricky and talented player for whom good things will invariably occur. Even if we might have to wait a while.
"The re-introduction of B teams in Portugal was controversial at the time, but it's certainly good for Porto, who can allow the likes of Otávio to adapt to the rigours of life in Europe away from prying eyes. Announced himself with a brace against Olhanense in October, once he fills out physically he'll be a force." - Ben Shave
"Otávio was involved in a goal every 220 minutes last season in the Brazilian Serie A (scoring six and assisting two)." - OptaJoe
D A barren twelve months in which there should have been more, but the future looks relatively assured.
The latest Brazil Kit is available at JD Sports.