Splashed across the front of Monday's O Jogo is a claim that Chelsea have agreed a €15m fee to bring wonderkid Lazar Markovic to the club from Benfica. This story has some history and it's worth going through that.
According to widespread reports in Serbia just under a year ago, Lazar Markovic was Chelsea bound. The deal was done, it was claimed, and within months the young talent would be a Chelsea player. It was all a little murky and we tried at the time to keep up with what was being said:
'On February 10th Sportski Zurnal in Serbia said that the player had agreed to sign for Chelsea, it was something which was reported throughout Serbia as fact. They said the deal was brokered by Markovic's agent Fali Ramadani and general agent Pini Zahavi. The price was put at €7m for the 18 year old Serbia international.
Mozzart in Serbia said the player had signed an agreement with Chelsea on 'the eve of the New Year holidays' and would leave his current club in the summer. They said interest from Italian clubs forced the Premier League club into action and that Lazar Markovic was away from his Serbian club for three days to sort the deal out.
A lot of the reports even went as far as to say a meal was arranged to welcome Markovic and was attended by players including Frank Lampard, Branislav Ivanovic and Marko Marin.
The following day Sportski Zurnal detailed some confusion as to when Markovic would be joining up with Chelsea and quoted the player as saying "I only know that there is an option to play for Partizan to the end of qualifying for the European cups, and then move to a new environment."
On February 12th Markovic confirmed his London visit and was quoted by Blic as saying "It is true that I was on a tour of the city and the stadium... and met people from Chelsea, but I have not signed any contract or pre-contract. I had a great few days, however, it is far from being all done."'
During the mess, the player's agent Fali Ramadani claimed that half of Markovic's rights had been bought by Pini Zahavi, so when he moved to Benfica the Portuguese club only actually bought half of him. The mention of this led us to state at the time that it looked as though Markovic was being 'parked' at Benfica to see his value rise ahead of a move to another club, and that looks like the way it's panning out.
O Jogo today say it's Roman Abramovich who is leading the Chelsea pursuit and he's used a friendship with Zahavi to get a deal done. It will see Chelsea paying €15m for Markovic with half of that going to Zahavi and half to Benfica. The Portuguese club had paid Partizan Belgrade €6.25m for Markovic so would only make €1.25m from their share.
The move would not be immediate and O Jogo insinuate a Chelsea transfer was the plan all along, parking 19 year old Markovic at Benfica for two years. They even quote Partizan director Dragan Djuric saying in January "Chelsea have loaned Markovic to Benfica for two years."
It's messy, there's no doubt about that, but O Jogo are convinced Chelsea have an agreement with Zahavi to sign the player, the Serbian media could finally be proven right.
Follow us on Twitter @Sport_Witness