Benfica could get some revenge over Chelsea for that Europa League defeat by beating them to the signature a 19-year-old Serbian wonderkid.
Lazar Markovic has been linked with a possible move to the Premier League giants but that has been thrown into doubt after he indicated that he would prefer a move to Benfica which suits his style of play.
"Benfica is a great club, one of the biggest in the world, I truly believe that it would be good for me to play for them", he said.
Markovic has apparently told his current club Partizan Belgrade that he will be leaving them this summer, which means one of the most talented attacking players in Europe is up for grabs.
If there is serious interest from Benfica then you can bet good money they will make it as difficult as possible for Chelsea to sign him, following that narrow 2-1 defeat which was dished out on behalf of the London side.
Markovic has produced some stunning statistics this season, which have suggested he could be very effective at the top level of European football.
He’s only played 18 league matches but he’s scored six goals and come up with seven assists which is remarkable for a player who also plays out on the left wing at times.
Chelsea can get round this potential problem by getting a deal done early and quickly, which won’t leave any room for Benfica to react.
Markovic may have a more immediate role to play at Benfica but Chelsea have the guarantee of success and the potential appointment of Jose Mourinho which they can work in their favour.
That Mourinho factor is very significant, especially if the Portuguese coach is serious about trying to spend a long time at a football club for once over a two to three year period before leaving.
The price isn’t an issue if a bidding war develops because both Benfica and Chelsea are in good positions financially to be able to pay a top fee for this sort of player.
The fact that Benfica have just agreed deals for two Serbian players shouldn’t really be an issue for the Blues because there is not a lack of Serbian players playing English football, which should ease any feeling of home sickness.
The only obstacle is the fact that he seems to have his heart set on going to Portugal, which is something Chelsea wouldn’t be able to do anything about in an ironic twist of fate.
Benfica will still feel bitterly disappointed and resentful towards Chelsea, which could give them the determination to make sure they don’t lose this battle too.
Would Markovic be wrong to choose Chelsea over Benfica?
image: © Crystian Cruz