Who is he? Where does he play?
That, for once, isn't just the banal recurring question we use to get this gig on the road, it is a rather difficult poser. The thing is, nobody is really sure. We know he is a 19 year old Serbian striker but we don't exactly know what club he plays for.....
Huh? Of course you do! You know how to use the internet, right?
Yes, of course we know how to use the internet, but it's the web that has been spreading a web of Markovic-related confusion over the past week. The striker has been playing for Partizan Belgrade, where he has just come off a season in which he scored 7 goals and assisted 7 in 19 league games, but Chelsea have apparently signed him, only to loan him to Benfica for 2 years. However, this has been disputed by Benfica who claim they have signed him out-right on a 5 year deal.
Oh right... yeah... confusing... so what does he offer?
Pace and a hell of a lot of it. Being just 175cm tall, Markovic possesses fine balance and a turn of speed that is comparable to lightning and is effective on the counter attack. However, his main position is not on the shoulder of the defender, instead he has been deployed on the right, the left and behind the striker as a trequarsita. His pace is effective in moving between the lines, dragging defenders around as he searches for space, though his finishing needs work, as he utilises fine intelligence to drift into threatening positions but struggles to take the majority of his chances.
So we don't know who he plays for, or where he plays... great...
Benfica will be a great help for the next stage of his career, with Markovic claiming compatriot Nemanja Matic has recommended Lisbon to him;
“Even today I spoke with Matic and he was telling me that Benfica is a club with more fans, very organized and with plenty of history, and he wished me the best of luck in this important step,” Markovic told Benfica TV.
It is certain that Markovic will be playing his football at Benfica next season, but if the words of Partizan club president Dragan Djurcic are anything to go by, he will be on loan from Chelsea.
And how's he doing for Serbia?
Fine.. he has taken just 2 years to rise from the under-17s to the senior team, with whom he now has 7 caps. Playing usually as a second striker, he has 1 goal to his name, coming against Chile in a friendly.
As we have mentioned, Markovic's pace can be deadly on the counter attack, as seen here in Partizan's Europa League game vs Inter Milan, which can be seen here http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xy7cti_lazar-markovic-vs-inter-milan-in-the-uefa-europa-league-oct-26th-2012_sport
It was a performance that caused Inter Milan coach Andrea Stramaccioni to call him a "player with exceptional qualities and impressive acceleration" whilst Javier Zanetti said he was an "interesting player who impressed me"
And if that isn't praise enough......................