Chelsea may have already struck their first transfer of the mid-season market as Portuguese newspaper O Jogo has today, Monday, reported that Stamford Bridge could soon welcome promising 19-year-old Serbian winger Lazar Markovic to their playing roster.
Currently a regular with Benfica in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, Markovic really broke into the first-team in the 2011/12 season, having returned six goals and six assists from 26 matches in the division, however, he really pushed on last season and was responsible for 20 goals (nine goals/11 assists) in all competitions for both club and country.
O Jogo claim that Markovic will not join Mourinho and his players immediately. Instead, he will stay at Benfica on a medium-term loan basis (the rest of this season and next) in order to continue receiving regular first-team football in a competitive league with European football available, also.
While there is a perception that Chelsea is not a place for youth to go in order to continue development - thanks, in part, to the struggles of players like Kevin de Bruyne - there are success stories regarding the club's loan players such as Thibaut Courtois at Atletico Madrid and Romelu Lukaku at Everton.
Thus far this season, Markovic has returned three goals and one assist in 495 minutes of Primeira Liga football. He has also featured in five Champions League matches for Benfica. He has nine international appearance for the senior Serbian national team.
image: © Tom Cuppens