Chelsea appeared early in the year to be dead certainties to sign Lazar Markovic in the summer transfer window, but then it went quiet.
Their red hot interest went cold, and Markovic joined Benfica from Partizan Belgrade, although the Blues are still said to hold an interest.
Reports originally claimed when he signed that he had been purchased by Chelsea and loaned to Benfica, but this was never verified and it is believed officially to be a straightforward transfer.
It was reported over the weekend that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho had visited Belgrade to watch Serbia's World Cup qualifier with rivals Croatia, and check out both Markovic and Nemanja Matic first hand.
And with good reason, for Markovic has been in sensational form since arriving at Benfica, the playmaker bagging two goals on his debut.
Portuguese newspaper O Jogo has claimed this week that Markovic had to have career saving surgery due to an illness, earlier this month.
"The Serbian has shown small blemishes since joining Benfica, but six months ago were much more serious. Treatment in England opened the doors to The Stadium of Light.
"Lazar Markovic has had minor physical problems since he came to Benfica, but nothing compared to those which were found earlier this year. Last season, the player had his career at risk due to a complex lesion in the abdomen, for which effective treatment was only found in England."
The report brings interesting context to Chelsea's interest, which was at it's height in February of this year. It then appeared to drop off, especially by time the transfer window came around, moving onto other targets instead.
The good news is Markovic appears to have largely recovered from his health concerns, and is in fine form for club and country.
Should he continue his development, which is probably best served at Benfica for now where he can get more playing time, then a move to Chelsea could well still come when the time is right.
image: © zongo