Name: Lazar Markovic
International Caps: 12 (2 goals)
Position: Attacking midfield/wing
It’s full stream ahead on Merseyside, as operation ‘life after Luis Suarez’ kicks into gear. Liverpool have moved quickly to agree a fee of between £20m-£25m for Lazar Markovic, who is seen as one of European football’s top talents.
So what will Liverpool be getting for their money?
Well, a lot is the short answer. The 20-year-old Serbian has only been a Benfica player for a year, but his displays have already been enough to get some of continent’s elite to look longingly at him. Chelsea are said to be interested after almost agreeing a deal for his signature when he left Partizan Belgrade, while other sides have been sniffing around. Markovic is comfortable on either flank and is known for his ability to drift inside to link with his strikers. This would appear to suit Brendan Rodgers’ preferred 4-3-3 set-up, which he’s likely to employ now Suarez has gone. As an inverted winger, the youngster will likely line up alongside the likes of Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho or maybe Alexis Sanchez, with versatility and the ability to drift into space key.
Will Markovic be worth it?
This is a tough one to answer. On the surface it would appear to be a yes, with the Eastern European starlet clearly possessing a wealth of talent. His goal output was not great last season in Lisbon (stats below), but given that it was his first season in a major league there were signs of positivity with his displays improving gradually as the season drew to its end.
He missed the Europa League Final thanks to a ban, which illustrates a fiery edge to his game and personality, which was evident in Suarez.
Will he soften the blow of losing Suarez?
Maybe. Markovic is a massive talent, and his capture shows that Liverpool mean business and will not retreat into their shell after losing a star man.
Thumbs up or thumbs down?
In FFC towers we’re going thumbs up on this one. Not much is known about Markovic yet, but his raw edge and obvious ability could make him another killer weapon on Liverpool’s attack.