Chelsea had a first option on him and there were third parties in the shadows but it appears that Liverpool are close to making a fourth signing of the transfer window to follow Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, and Emre Can into Anfield. Reports from Portugal and England point to Benfica's Lazar Marković heading into the guiding arms of Brendan Rodgers.
Tony Barrett has tweeted that "Liverpool hope to conclude a deal to sign Lazar Marković this week" and earlier in the day journalist Mariana Cabral revealed that it was a done deal for €25 million and that's £19.8 million. The UK's Daily Telegraph is running with the story but inevitably the currency sign changes instead of any conversions being made.
Marković is a player of huge potential and already has the ability to terrorise defences with his technique, blistering pace, and dribbling. He is one of the most promising attacking players in Europe and Chelsea were rightly seen as a barrier to Liverpool concluding a deal simply because the 20 year-old youngster is an exceptional prospect.
Signing another forward who could play left or right, and potentially as a second striker was always something that Liverpool needed to do irrespective of Luis Suárez's future. Daniel Sturridge, Luis Suárez, and Raheem Sterling were not ably supported or pushed by Iago Aspas and Victor Moses. Rickie Lambert has arrived to provide a different option and depth at centre forward while Lazar Marković should provide greater quality in various attacking positions like Raheem Sterling did last season.
The Serbian international has reputedly been on Brendan Rodgers' radar since last summer and the prospect of Rodgers linking up with a player who has the talent to be one of Europe's finest forwards should be a treat. Marković's arrival would give Liverpool a quick front three of Marković, Sterling, and Sturridge with Suárez's replacement still to come. It is unknown whether Marković's impending arrival halts any potential Xherdan Shaqiri deal at this stage but Liverpool retain hope that Alexis Sánchez will be El Pistolero's successor.
Like Lallana, Marković will not be a passenger defensively while retaining the capacity to hurt defences. This was one of the biggest developments in Philippe Coutinho's transition to a tigerish central midfielder and both Sterling and Suárez excelled in recovering the ball in the final third. Targeting excellent players is what any club should do but they'll be more likely to succeed if they already have an understanding of a system as well as philosophy that they should fit into.
This is exciting news and I hope Mariana Cabral will not become this summer's Artur Petroysan because Liverpool fans will absolutely love Lazar Marković.