Lazar Markovic To Chelsea: Portugese Expert Scouts Serbian Wonderkid
Chelsea have been regularly linked to Benfica's 19-year-old Serbian forward in the run up to the January transfer window so we asked Portuguese football expert Daniel Feliciano to give us the low-down.
In the hottest Portuguese title race in history, all three contenders have found their star. Benfica's star is still in the making, but it's clear he'll be an incredibly bright one.
Serbian Lazar Markovic has wowed Portuguese fans all season, playing up front for the Lisbon side. Capable of playing on the wing too, his dribbling ability and vision plus his incredible ability to accelerate away from the defenders makes him a constant threat to the opposition.
He's been deployed on the wing on occasion and this is where his vision comes to light. His skill lets him waltz past players and then he has the talent to find a pass for a teammate, usually splitting the defence. His stats don't look particularly great with 3 goals and 1 assist in 11 league games but it's the performances that have caught the eye.
Benfica know they've got a real talent in the Serb who's got 9 senior caps and 2 goals at international level. Only 19 years of age and in a brand new league he's done fairly well in his debut season.
While at Partizan he was named in the Serbian League Team of the Year two seasons in a row - his first two seasons as a professional footballer. He's reportedly caught Chelsea's eyes due to his talents, although it's too early for him to move to the Premier League.
It's fairly evident he'll be a star and while he won't be at the World Cup in the summer, there's no doubt he'll get his chance to perform on the international stage in the future.
If any one moment sums him up as a player, take a look at his stunning goal for Benfica in the Lisbon derby against fierce rivals Sporting Lisbon earlier in the season. He picks the ball up deep in the opposition half, runs at the defence and with mazy footwork and incredible acceleration skips past 3 defenders before showing composure to slide the ball between the legs of the onrushing Rui Patricio and into the net. A superb goal that not only earned his side a crucial point in a 1-1 draw but highlighted the incredible solo talent that he has at his disposal.