Before I get too high and mighty, let me first admit how thrilled I’d be to be paid tens of thousands of pounds a week to hang around Liverpool Football Club and have a few kick arounds with the lads.
Of course, I’m not a professional footballer, someone who has strived from the earliest ages to excel in the sport we all love. I never showed such talent, that at 20 years of age, a club of Liverpool’s size and stature was willing to risk €20 million on me. At 20, Waldenbooks was willing to risk an additional $0.20 an hour over the minimum wage on me, which felt like a victory at the time.
All of this preamble is getting to the exceptionally buried lead: Lazar Markovic made the baffling decision to not play football this season, rejecting the last-minute move to the Belgian side Anderlecht late last night.
Anderlecht had offered Liverpool a cut-rate deal of £2.9 million, plus a generous 50% sell-on fee. Liverpool, thrilled to be receiving more than a handshake when the Serbian player left next summer on a free, quickly agreed to the offer.
For now, Markovic appears to be stuck at Melwood. The club can hope for a January transfer (for even more of a cut-rate deal), but that appears unlikely. The best case scenario for the player is that he’ll make up the numbers for the U-23s. The worst case? Dusting off Jose Enrique’s Play Station and vegging out on the couch.
It’s a strange decision from the former starlet. We can assume that Anderlecht were unwilling to match his wage demands. Yet, it’s hard to imagine another club doing better when he’s allowed to leave on a free after not playing top-flight football for a year.