Liverpool look to complete their fourth signing of the summer as reports indicate a deal worth £20 million for Benfica’s Lazar Markovic has been agreed.
It is reported that the player is presently travelling to Merseyside to have a medical later this week.
We reported back in March that Liverpool sent chief scout Barry Hunter to Ireland to watch Markovic in Serbia’s 2-1 win over Republic of Ireland where he played for 75 minutes.
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 the club’s healthy relationship with Partizan (Lazar’s club prior to the Portuguese giants) and Benfica, the club has been reputed to have already negotiated a first option clause to be able to buy him at £12.5million. But the club decided not to make use of this clause. Chelsea currently have a lot of promising youngsters within their ranks, both on duty with the club or on loan. While Markovic is deemed a super talent, the likes of Willian, Thorgan Hazard and Mohamed Salah are just as dangerous.
With Chelsea not going for the Serbian, Liverpool’s pursuit was made easier and it looks like Markovic can be unveiled as a Red as early as next week.
Markovic had a great season with Benfica where he helped the side reach the Europa league finals. He missed out on the final against Sevilla because of suspension. He scored five goals and grabbed five goals in 26 appearances in the league.
He can play on either flanks and through the middle. He comes in to mostly compete with Raheem Sterling for the starting spot and would also make sure the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana also don’t get complacent. Unfortunately The Merseyside club needs a larger squad next season and Brendan Rodgers has already started adding to the squad as he prepares his side for four competitions including the Champions League next season. He has signed Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana from Southampton and Emre Can from Bayer Leverkusen. Liverpool are also targeting Dejan Lovren, Alberto Moreno and Devock Origi . Xherdan Shaqiri was an important target of the club but with the possible acquisition of Markovic, the Reds might not want to get the Swiss international.
However, the Reds still have to bring in a player to fill Luis Suarez’s void. While there are few direct replacements for a player like Suarez, the Reds were linked with Alexis Sanchez for a long while. They held talks with the talented Chile international and hoped he would agree to be a makeweight in the Luis Suarez deal. The Reds were facing competition from Arsenal and eventually Liverpool admitted defeat to land the player as Sanchez’s preference is the Gunners. The prime reason for his decision is cited as the desire of Sanchez’s family to live in the capital.