Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers spent a reported £20 million on Serbian winger Lazar Markovic from Portuguese champions Benfica, but who is he? And more importantly, will he be a success at Anfield?
Let’s start by taking a look at his statistics from last season. During the year with the Portuguese champions, Markovic made 39 appearances in all competitions, although 13 of these were from the bench.
For an attacking player, his strike rate is far from impressive. Markovic only managed six goals in all those appearances. To be fair to the young Serb, he did play against some top quality teams in the Champions League group stage, but Benfica were runaway champions. Surely he could have contributed more goals to the team.
He did manage an 81 percent average pass success rate, which should suit Liverpool as I am sure the League runners up are looking for someone to link up with Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge.
You should remember that Markovic is only 20 years old. As a young player, he should excel at Liverpool as they have a proven track record of including youngsters in their first team in recent years. He should follow in the footsteps of Suso, Coutinho, Jon Flanagan and Sterling.
However, the large price tag could dampen his first season. He is already being touted as the next Mario Ballotelli or Luis Suarez in terms of his attitude. Last season, he was sent off for a touchline fight with Mirko Vučinić from Juventus.
The worry would be that he gets arrogant. He may be worth £20 million but he still has to prove it, and it will be up to Liverpool manager Rodgers to remind him of that.
Markovic should not be considered as a like-for-like replacement for Uruguayan striker Suarez. The Serb is more likely to be played alongside Sterling and Sturridge as part of a quick and attacking front three.
Only time will tell if he is to be a success at Anfield. The large price tag could motivate or demotivate in equal measure, and if Liverpool fans expect him to take up Suarez’s role, then the pressure of expectation could break him.
It will be a tough season for the youngster, and I think it will be too hard for him to cope. You should expect to see a lot of hype ahead of his first few games, and then the doubt will emerge from fans and the media. He will end up on the bench by the end of the season.