Lazar Markovic: Can he make it big?
After their game against Partizan Belgrade ,Inter coach, Andrea Stramaccioni said: “He is a player with exceptional qualities. He possesses a very impressive acceleration and has a bright future ahead of him.” And no, he wasn’t referring to any of his own players. Instead, he was talking about young Serbian international, Lazar Markovic.
Markovic, who turned 19 just a few weeks back, is already a senior international for Serbia, and is destined for great things in the future. The Serbian forward, having only debuted for Partizan in the spring of 2011, is now an integral part of the first team, and is also the youngest ever player to play for his country.
He joined Partizan at the age of 12 from his hometown club, Borac Cacak. After channelling through the club’s youth system, he was given his debut in the final league match of the 2010/11 season, by when the Belgrade club were already crowned as champions. He signed a new contract with the Serbian champions in the summer, and started off the 2011/12 season as a first team player, aged just 17.
In his first full season, the young attacker made 26 appearances for the club, scoring 6 goals and assisting 6, as the team once again claimed the domestic league. He also won the club’s player of the season award, which resulted in his call-up to the national squad.
This season has been even better for Markovic, with 6 goals and 6 assists in just 13 matches, so far. He is a regular international and Serbian national coach Sinisa Mihajlovic has no doubts over the former’s prospects and talent. The former Inter and Lazio defender said: “This guy is a tremendous talent. He’s fast,technically excellent and dangerous when running towards the goal. It’s fair to say that he is so fast that it sometimes seems that he is driving a scooter on the pitch.”
Despite being linked with top European clubs like Inter, Barcelona, Fiorentina, Liverpool, and Bayern Munich among others, Stamford Bridge seems the most likely destination for the 19-year old. It is no surprise that Markovic is an ardent Chelsea fan, and has a deep admiration for the club.
“I really hope I can go to Chelsea, it’s my dream,” he told a national newspaper, back in 2011. “I’m told there were 20 scouts from all over Europe in the VIP box when we beat Red Star. But Chelsea is the place I want to play. I had all the pictures of the team on my wall at home back to when they had Gianfranco Zola. And any time they are on TV I try to watch them. For me Chelsea are the best. I want to go to the Premier League. It is the best league in the world.”
Markovic was heavily linked with a move to the European champions in the summer transfer window, as well as in the winter/January transfer window. But, somehow nothing materialized and Markovic, at least for the time being, remains at Partizan. He was invited for a Stamford Bridge tour where he also met with a few Chelsea officials, but no formal negotiations took place.
He also has Champions League and Europa League experience under his belt, so his transition to a possible ‘top’ European club wouldn’t be that difficult. After picking up his award as the most valued player of the opening half of the current season, he said that he would not make a move to Chelsea unless he would become a member of the first team. He was quoted as saying: “We know that Chelsea is my favourite team after Partizan… But it is not out of question for them to sign me,and then send me somewhere on loan.”
It may appear that Chelsea and Markovic are satisfied to remain as distant admirers, but it is only a matter of time before the two parties make their relationship official.