Liverpool close in on £25m starlet as Suarez nears exit

Liverpool are closing in on a £25m deal for Benfica attacker Lazar Markovic as they ramp up their plans to replace Luis Suarez, according to reports from The Telegraph.

The 27-year-old striker is set to make his switch to the Camp Nou official next week, with the Spaniards keen to land him despite his recent biting controversy.

If Alexis Sanchez is involved in the deal – which is thought to be the factor holding up proceedings – Liverpool will bring in around £50m-£60m, but should they miss out Barca are thought to be ready to activate his release clause of close to £80m.

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Either way, Brendan Rodgers will have a significant amount of cash to add to his budget and he has launched a raid for Markovic.

The Reds have been linked with the 20-year-old Serbian on a number of occasions in recent months, with rumours suggesting he was an alternative to major target Adam Lallana.

But with the playmaker secured the Merseysiders are still keen, and see him as a good arrival when Suarez heads out of the door as they look to boost their front line.

Markovic has been one of Benfica’s top performers in recent times, but they are resigned to selling even though he was only signed from Partizan Belgrade last year.