Lazar Markovic has generated plenty of headlines in recent days – his wonder-strike against Vitoria Guimaraes giving Benfica a potentially title-deciding lead over nearest rivals Sporting Lisbon and faltering champions FC Porto.
The 19-year-old Serbian left-winger is enjoying an impressive spell in Portugal and is justifying the reported interest that Chelsea had in him prior to his summer move from Partizan Belgrade.
Previous reports have suggested that Blues have an unofficial agreement with Benfica to sign Markovic for €15million – this despite the fact that he has a reported €40million release-clause.
And Portuguese newspaper O Jogo has picked today to reassert those claims, adding that they are reportedly the one club who can still secure the player on the (veritable) cheap.
If the deal is indeed in place – and for now it remains purely speculation – Jose Mourinho would be wise to act swiftly.
However Record has a contrasting report this morning, claiming Markovic will remain at Benfica for a while longer.
“Decisive great goals will not stop there,” they claim. “Lazar Markovic will stay at Benfica at least one more season.”
His agent Pini Zahavi is quoted as telling the paper, “Of course he will stay. He is still very young.”
If the reported €15million agreement remains in place, there is always the chance that Chelsea could move when Markovic is older, more experienced and more likely to challenge for a regular first-team place.
If it is not, they will have to dig deep to sign one of Europe's hottest properties.