Liverpool is close to signing Lazar Markovic — one of European soccer’s hottest prospects.
Liverpool agreed to purchase Markovic from Portuguese club Benfica for a transfer fee worth around £19.8 million ($34 million), ESPN and the Mirror reported Tuesday.
Benfica issued a statement saying it had sold its 50 percent stake in the Serbian’s rights to the Reds.
“A Sport Lisboa e Benfica, in compliance with Article 248 of the Code of Values Securities, announces that it has reached an agreement with Liverpool FC for the transfer of the outright sports rights and 50 percent of the economic rights they held of athlete Lazar Markovic for the amount of 12.5 million euros,” the statement said.
Liverpool is expected to immediately purchase the other half of Markovic’s rights from a third party. Markovic had a physical examination with Liverpool on Monday, and the transfer should be finalized this week.
Markovic, 20, is an attacker who can play on either wing or as a second striker. Markovic honed his skills in the academy of Serbian club Partizan Belgrade and made his debut at the start of the 2011-12. After two impressive seasons with his boyhood club, Markovic joined Benfica last summer.
Markovic played 46 games (in all competitions) for Benfica in 2013-14, helping Portuguese giant win the Primeira Liga (Portugual’s first division), Taça de Portugal (Portuguese Cup), Taça da Liga (Portuguese League Cup) and finish runner-up in the UEFA Europa League.
Markovic also has played 12 times for Serbia’s senior national team.
Markovic had been previously courted by Chelsea, who had attempted to sign him before the 2013-14 season.
Markovic will be Liverpool’s fourth summer signing, following the arrivals of Emre Can, Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana. Markovic will be expected to add goals and guile to Liverpool’s attack, as it pursues titles in the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup in 2014-15 and beyond.
Photo via Facebook/Lazar Markovic