Lazar Marković 19 Midfielder Benfica Serbia
2013 has been...
Just what we wanted. Last year’s single A-star pupil finished off the season in great form and with another title winner’s medal in his back pocket, as well as a place in the team of the year for the second season running. He had also impressed in Partizan’s Europa League campaign where ultimately they failed to make it out of a tough group despite his best efforts. On top of his domestic football he’d also featured more for the full international side at both full and U21 level, and it’s fair to say the secret was out.
Here was a special player capable of big things, and inevitably as summer started the transfer speculation was intense. A whirlwind of misinformation surrounded his eventual move to Benfica as Chelsea’s interest muddied the waters. Depending on whom you choose to believe either the Chelsea link came from a bid from the club that hinged on an initial loan agreement that couldn’t be agreed, or from the player’s representatives who were hoping to arouse some interest as Markovic is said to have always wanted to play at Stamford Bridge. Regardless the move from Partizan was inevitable and Benfica paid a reported €10m for his services. The rest, as they say, is history.
He’s started at Benfica doing what he does and he’s been taken to their hearts immediately. A goal on your debut will help with that, a wonderful solo strike against rivals Sporting even more so and he’s already beginning to feel like an important player for the club. His recent strike against Academica was a wonderful outside of the boot clip from the edge of the area, the finish of a confident man and all we can say is give us more of this and we’ll keep watching forever.
We like the fit here between player and club. At Benfica he will play regularly, not get a Premier League clattering every week from defenders, and just get better and better. He seems to be enjoying himself and it’s not going unnoticed. The complications of that summer transfer keep emerging and there’s some thought that the Chelsea move is still very much on in the future, with the club having already paid a fee to retain a first option on the player when the time is right to move.
Whatever the truth one thing is clear, Lazar Markovic is a player destined for the very top as things stand. If he can keep working hard, keep enjoying himself and keep making sensible decisions he will go far. We make no secret of the fact we all love him here at IBWM and we aren’t the only ones, the world is watching and so far the hype is entirely justified. The mark has to be a B as the bedding in continues in Portugal and Benfica are sensibly not pushing him too far, but we’re already looking forward to next year when he’s settled. Special and in a league that nurtures talent, we couldn’t be happier.
"We've become very protective of Markovic after giving him such a glowing reference last year and really hoped that Benfica would treat him well. Doesn't seem to matter one jot though, he's made a huge jump and is standing up for himself on his own terms. A class act that gets better by the year." - Jeff Livingstone, IBWM
B Still the real deal and still a house favourite, he looks everything we hoped he would be last year, a season to settle in Benfica and then he may well really begin to impose himself - we can’t wait