The paradox of football is that it is both hyper accessible in that all one needs is a ball and some space to kick it around, yet is also very exclusive in that a very small percentage of global participants in the game ever touch the upper echelons. The story of football is littered - especially in the age of 24 hour news coverage - with examples of highly-touted youth players that many believed had the skills to be special and who, for one reason or another, somehow failed to leave a lasting mark at the top level of world football.
The story of Lazar Markovic is going to read rather familiarly to most people then. Highly touted as a youth player, Liverpool managed to beat out other top teams to Markovic’s signature in the summer of 2014. Coming off a hugely successful campaign with Benfica, the young winger seemed to have the whole world in front of him and many at the time - including here at TLO - thought this was a terrific signing. With speed to play on the wings and the skill to play in the 10/off the striker, he seemed to be the type of signing that would bring excitement.
Unfortunately, that did not quite turn out. Aside from a few teasing appearances in the 2014-2015 campaign, Markovic failed to make an impact and promptly found himself on the fringe of the first-team. As the team progressed under Jurgen Klopp, Lazar has struggled even more, and with loan stints still not providing either the requisite progression nor the interest from other teams to eventually buy him, Lazar has been pinned to the bench.
With reports earlier this week noting that Liverpool might be willing to flex on their price to let Markovic go, there were reported interests from PAOK. It appears now, though, that Lazar will instead be headed to Belgian club Anderlecht for £2.9 million and a 50% sell-on fee. The report from The Echo notes that Markovic is currently in Belgium negotiating personal terms.
Here’s hoping that this transfer goes through and Markovic finds his way back onto the pitch.