Liverpool are preparing to leap-frog Chelsea in the race to snap up Serbia’s hottest prospect, Lazar Markovic, The People has reported.
Chelsea had been favourites to land Markovic after the Partizan Belgrade forward talked-up ambitions of joining Andre Villas-Boas’ men when he became aware of their interest. However, Liverpool have jumped ahead of their Premiership rivals in hope of tying up a deal for the 17 year-old in the January transfer window. Sources in Serbia claim Markovic’s representatives have already met with Anfield officials to discuss a potential move.
Partizan are reluctant to lose the Serbian forward who they rate at around £7m but sources close to the club suggest they would consider a sale if a clause is written into any deal allowing him to be loaned back to the Serbian outfit. Markovic only signed a 5-year contract with the club last summer but reports indicate that a deal between Partizan and Liverpool will be finalised in the January window with the young hotshot eventually moving to Merseyside at the end of the season.
Obtaining a work permit for Markovic could be one of the issues that Liverpool may encounter in capturing the Serbian Under-21 star but boss, Kenny Dalglish will be hoping the Reds have case for bringing him to the country on the grounds of being an ‘outstanding talent’.
Markovic is widely regarded as the best player Serbia have produced for many years. After signing for Partizan as a 12 year-old trainee, the exciting attacker developed through the ranks and made his first-team debut in May 2011 as a second-half substitute in his sides 2-1 win against FK Sloboda.
Having already broken into the Serbia Under-21 squad experts are tipping the hot prospect to become a full international by the end of the year. His raw pace, exceptional skill, direct approach and goalscoring ability have seen Markovic likened to a young Michael Owen.
Italian sides, Inter Milan and Fiorentina have also been linked with a move for the Serb but for now Anfield appears to be his likely destination. Liverpool’s emphasis on bringing Europe’s best young talent to Merseyside has recently seen 16 year-old Jordan Ibe join from Wycombe Wanderers, with the club also being linked to several other prospects with huge potential.
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