Liverpool are on the brink of signing Lazar Markovic from Benfica, according to reports in both English and Portuguese press. Details of the 20-year-old's potential contract terms have emerged, signalling a major commitment from the Reds to get their man.
Portuguese paper A Bola reports the intricacies, translated via 101 Great Goals:
According to A Bola, Markovic has penned a five year deal with the Reds, whilst the new contract has placed a €45 million release clause in the deal.
Interestingly, as Benfica only owned 50% of Markovic’s rights, the Eagles will only receive €12.5m in the deal.
One major stumbling block is the potential position of power held by Chelsea. Jose Mourinho's side are said to have first-option to buy Markovic, although a "large degree of uncertainty" surrounds the clause, reported by Ben Jefferson of the Express. If true, it is reported the Blues could sign the player for as little as £12 million.
As such, Liverpool are keen to tie up the winger's personal terms before making an official bid, per Ed Malyon of the Mirror. Despite a potential cut-price deal, Mourinho is said to have passed, per Duncan Castles of the Sunday Times:
Markovic will head to Anfield after a decent season with Benfica. The flying winger made 26 Liga Sagres appearances during 2013-14, scoring five goals, per WhoScored.com.
He also gained valuable experience in the Champions League and Europa League, totalling 13 performances across the two competitions. Unfortunately for the player and his club, Benfica lost on penalties to Sevilla during the final of the latter competition.
Brendan Rodgers is the type of manager who will keep Markovic's development progressing by challenging him. Rodgers is likely to deploy Markovic on either wing while ensuring he carries out defensive duties in a Liverpool lineup that loves to launch speedy, incisive counterattacks.
The youngster's fleet-footed dribbling skills and confidence when moving into the box will naturally excite the Kop. Markovic has proven himself versatile across a professional career that already spans over three years, but playing for Liverpool will provide an intense examination of his consistency at the top level.
His arrival will add to a trio of signings already made by Rodgers. Rickie Lambert, Emre Can and Adam Lallana have joined the Reds' quest for Premier League glory next season, but Samuel Luckhurst of the Huffington Post doesn't believe these players are the best investment of money:
Considering Liverpool may soon have around £80 million to spend if Luis Suarez completes his move to Barcelona, reported by Simon Jones of the Daily Mail, it seems Rodgers is opting for youth and proven Premier League quality over out-and-out world stars. A mixture of all three took Liverpool to second last season and just needs strength-in-depth added to push further.
Markovic should be seen as a long-term investment with the future very much in mind, although he possesses the quality to contribute right away. Rodgers continues to build toward an era of success without compromising on bringing in talented youngsters, an extremely positive sign for the Merseyside club's ambitions.