Liverpool have joined the race for the signature of Benfica’s Lazar Markovic, having sent their chief scout to watch the attacker last week.
The 20 year old has been in fine form and according to reports Liverpool sent chief scout Barry Hunter to Ireland last Wednesday to watch Serbia’s 2-1 win over Republic of Ireland, in which Markovic played for 75 minutes.
Formerly of Partizan Belgrade, Markovic has been followed closely by Chelsea over recent seasons and was expected to join them prior to signing for Benfica on a five year contract last summer.
Chelsea have been studying his development for some time now and were linked to make a move for the player in the winter transfer window by the Portuguese media Due to Chelsea’s healthy relationship with Partizan and Benfica, the club has been reputed to have already negotiated a first option clause to be able to buy him at £12.5million.
However, the player has heavily featured for the Portuguese side this season and would be a little apprehensive about going to a place where there is no shortage of attacking midfielders.
Although Liverpool are currently one of the best, if not the best, attacking side in the Premier League, the club needs further attacking options as Raheem Sterling still developing and Coutinho a little rough round the edges as he too continues to develop. The Merseyside club needs a larger squad next season. Markovic can play on either flanks and through the middle and has mostly been deployed as a left winger for the club. While this maybe misconstrued as versatility, this has mostly happened because coaches have not found his ideal position. However, the position he thrives in the most is probably that when he is positioned right behind the striker as he enjoys making the zola zone, his own.
He likes to exploit the space between the lines. He has scored five goals and grabbed three assists in 18 matches in the league so far. He is a pacey player and has brilliant control over the ball. He thrives in counterattacks and links up play with ultimate finesse. However, he too, is not a finished product, which might make Rodgers a little apprehensive about going in and buying another player which has to be polished a little bit, instead of utilizing the same kind of money who would be ready to fit in the starting eleven straightaway.
Markovic would cost Liverpool a good amount as the player has already represented his country at the senior level and has been imperative in the Benfica squad. He is also contracted with the club till 2018.
THT Verdict: Unlikely
With Chelsea monitoring his situation since a long time, and with the friendship the two clubs share, it is obvious that Benfica would look to sell the player to the Blues. Markovic is a tremendous player and after one more season, he would be an absolute revelation on the pitch. But at the moment, he is a little like three Liverpool players- Sterling, Coutinho and Henderson. He is developing and improving with every match. It remains to be seen if Rodgers would want a fourth player on the list who is not a finished article, but would become one shortly.
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