On more than one occasion this season Liverpool have thought they were on the cusp of landing themselves a much sought after winger, only to see another side swoop down like a hawk to pluck the deal away from them.
It seems the experience has helped the Merseyside club learn a thing or two about gazumping transfer deals, as they look to turn from preyed to predator in snatching Benfica’s Lazar Markovic from under the noses of Chelsea.
Having seen the Blues take former Basel wide man Mohamed Salah to Stamford Bridge when close to nabbing the Egyptian in the January transfer window, Liverpool are keen to repay the dose by landing the 20-year-old Serb in the summer at Jose Mourinho’s expense.
It’s thought Chelsea were in the driving seat to sign the £20m-rated player but with Liverpool now well fancied to win the Premier League, at 17/10, the Anfield club are confident they can attract Markovic to Merseyside.
In the last three seasons the left winger has been a model of consistency, scoring seven goals in each campaign – two of which were spent with Partizan Belgrade before signing on with Benfica this term.
Links between the west London club and Benfica are strong, with David Luiz, Ramires and Nemanja Matic all recent acquisitions from the Portuguese giants, however with an abundance of talent to occupy the wings, Markovic may see Liverpool as a more viable option for regular first-team opportunities.
Only Raheem Sterling provides genuine width for Brendan Rodgers in the current Liverpool squad, so a recruit or two to bolster the touchline-hugging stocks before the impending Champions League campaign begins.
Having missed out on a few options already – Yevhen Konoplyanka was another deal that failed to materialise in January – the Northern Irishman will be keen to add to his squad sooner rather than later this close season and the possibility of doing it to Chelsea’s detriment will be an added bonus.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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