Liverpool ready to pull off near impossible to get Chelsea target

Lazar Markovic, there aren't many footballers with as much transfer conspiracy surrounding them. The young Serbian has been tied in a transfer web for over a year and his future isn't down to his wishes alone, or even those of his club. 

Grab a coffee and a biscuit, put your feet up, and let us take you a transfer story.

In February 2013 Serbian media outlet Sportski Zurnal said that Markovic had agreed to sign for Chelsea. 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. This news was reported throughout Serbia as fact, not as a transfer rumour. 

Mozzart in Serbia said the player had signed an agreement with Chelsea on 'the eve of the New Year holidays' and would leave Partizan when the season ended. 

Markovic himself confirmed that he'd been to London, after reports of him having dinner at Chelsea with Frank Lampard, Branislav Ivanovic and Marko Marin. Blic quoted him 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."

With no official announcement there followed confusion, who owned Markovic? Sportal.rs quoted Fali Ramadani, who has been the player's agent, as saying "Officially, Lazar Markovic is a Partizan football player, and informally? Ask the leaders of black and white. 

"I can only confirm that Lazar was a member of our agency, but no longer. If you want more details, talk to the club."

Then came comments from Zoran Stojadinovic, who is the sport director of Red Star Belgrade, and he said "Markovic, as far as I know, was sold by the managerial agency of Pini Zahavi for €7m. It is a fantastic figure and Partizan should be proud of the work done, and not try to hide it from the public."

This was all followed by claims that Pini Zahavi had bought Markovic with an agreement to later sell him to Chelsea and would 'park' the player at Benfica for two years whilst he developed. The theory was that Zahavi would then be able to make a profit and Chelsea would get a more rounded player. So why not buy him directly and loan him out? Well, it was explained that getting Markovic from Partisan wasn't the cleanest of operations and Chelsea were perhaps best letting someone else sort it. 

In December Portuguese newspaper O Jogo claimed, in a big front page story, that Markovic would finally become a Chelsea player because they'd agreed a fee for him. O Jogo said it was Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich leading the club's charge for Markovic, and that he'd used a friendship with Zahavi to get a deal done. It would 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 said a Chelsea transfer was the plan all along, parking 19 year old Markovic at Benfica for two years.

In January they even quoted Partizan director Dragan Djuric saying "Chelsea have loaned Markovic to Benfica for two years."

So that all makes it a surprise that the Sunday People claimed this weekend Liverpool were set for a €25m move for Markovic. It would see Benfica and Zahavi make more money but if there is a gentleman's agreement in place then Zahavi may think twice about upsetting Roman Abramovich

Liverpool have been scouting Benfica which has led them to be linked over the last few weeks with Rodrigo, Guilherme Siqueira, Nicolas Gaitan, Andre Gomes and now Lazar Markovic. That's not to mention players who have been on opposition sides during those games. 

Supporters could be forgiven for thinking the media have no idea who Liverpool are watching at Benfica and are just picking a new name out of the hat every few days. 

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