Lazar Markovic arrived at Anfield from Benfica two-and-a-half years ago as one of the most highly regarded young attackers in football and with a £20M price-tag that encouraged fans to dream the club had brought in a budding superstar. Nothing seen since then has backed that up.
For £20M at 20 years of age, the expectations are that a player can make an instant impact, that even if he takes a season or two to fully settle, the talent and promise will be clear to see. That, at a minimum, he will look like a future £50M player and be a regular rotation option in the first team.
His 34 appearances in all competitions in year one, on paper, look to support that. His three goals and generally underwhelming performances didn’t, and it wasn’t entirely surprising when the next season saw him loaned out to Fenerbahce. His time there was marked by injuries and poor play.
This season, after failing to impress Jürgen Klopp in pre-season, he was loaned out again. This time headed back to Portugal with Sporting CP and reuniting with former manager Jorge Jesus. He made 14 first-half appearances, scored two goals, and this week had his loan terminated.
Sporting had let Liverpool know they didn’t value Markovic’s contributions enough to justify the wages they were paying, and that if another home could be found for him they would be happy to end his stay in Lisbon. Today, that home has been found and a deal officially done.
A little less than 24 hours after news first broke of Hull City’s interest in the player, and less than a week after word of Sporting’s desire to terminate the loan leaked, Lazar Markovic is officially a Hull City player, with the relegation battlers set to give him a chance at Premier League football.
That it’s come to this for Markovic—being discarded by his former manager—is hardly a positive, and Liverpool’s £20M investment appears increasingly mis-spent. In the circumstances, though, regular playing time in England’s top flight is probably the best that could be hoped for for all parties.
After failing to impress at Liverpool, Fenerbahce, or Sporting over the past three seasons, a spell at Hull City is a chance for Markovic to get his career back on track and to, just perhaps, prove he still has some kind of a future at Liverpool. Hopefully it’s a chance he can take.