In amongst the clamour to sign a new left back (that Liverpool likely won’t) and the attempts to find a new permanent home for Mario Balotelli (that Liverpool hopefully will) and a temporary one for Mamadou Sakho (that, well, opinions on are mixed at best), one Liverpool transfer saga has managed to fly under the radar.
Lazar Markovic. The 22-year-old Serbian winger who arrived at the club two summers ago a highly-rated £20M signing from Benfica. Expectations were sky high for the then 20-year-old, as one would rather expect any time a club shells out that much money on that young a player, especially one without experience in a top league.
Moving to a deeper squad in a stronger league, though, Markovic’s minutes were limited and he struggled to impress when he did get on the pitch. Still, his promise and price tag had most believing that he would get his chances eventually and come good not too long after that. He didn’t, and so far he seems to have regressed.
He spent last season on loan with Fenerbahce, and in amongst struggles with injuries—struggles he also went through in his first season at Liverpool—Markovic largely failed to impress. And a few decent showings in pre-season this summer weren’t enough to get him into the conversation for Liverpool’s first team in 2016-17.
Yet the player appears set on making it either in England or another top league, as so far this summer he has reportedly turned down the chance to head to Sporting Lisbon, who were willing to pay around £16M to bring him back to Portugal. More interesting to the player would be rumours of interest from Milan and Schalke.
Another potential option could be Newcastle, who Goal’s Melissa Reddy claim are willing to go “above and beyond” to sign—either on a permanent deal or, failing that, on loan. The suggestion is that Markovic is Rafa Benitez’ top attacking target, and that Markovic has been convinced to buy into his Newcastle project.
If Newcastle are willing to match Sporting’s £16M offer, the further suggestion is a deal could be done in short order. However, while the buzz from the Liverpool end is that this is a doable deal, journalists with ties to Newcastle have since thrown doubt on the story, leaving us to have to wait and see how it develops.