Saturday 20 January 2018

Rodgers excited by Markovic capture as Swans reject Davies bid

Serbian midfielder Lazar Markovic has completed his move fro to Liverpool. Photo: PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images
Serbian midfielder Lazar Markovic has completed his move fro to Liverpool. Photo: PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool took their summer spending beyond £60m yesterday with the capture of Lazar Markovic but had a bid for the Swansea City left-back Ben Davies rejected.

While Markovic arrived at Anfield, an £8m offer for Davies (21) was turned down as Liverpool continue to rebuild with the proceeds of Luis Suarez's sale to Barcelona. Negotiations could prove tricky because Liverpool have upset Swansea by pursuing striker Wilfried Bony.

On another busy day of transfer activity for the Merseysiders, the £20m deal for Markovic was confirmed after terms were settled with Benfica and the player's third-party owners. Benfica confirmed they had sold 50pc of Markovic's economic rights to Liverpool, with the 20-year-old being joint-owned by an investment fund connected to the agent Pini Zahavi.

In line with strict Premier League rules, Liverpool now hold the full registration of the player following a complex negotiation which is becoming increasingly frequent when English clubs sign overseas stars.

Spanish and Portuguese football does not ban third-party ownership in the same way as England and numerous high-profile deals this sum-mer are following a similar course.

The practice of buying from third-party owners is not uncommon for English clubs.

It seemed that Markovic was destined to join Chelsea. He has been linked consistently with the London club since making his breakthrough at Partizan Belgrade. However, Chelsea decided not to pursue their interest and Liverpool were prepared to pay a higher fee to secure the Serbia international's signature.

"This is an exciting signing for us and one that improves our squad, in terms of attacking options," said Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.

"He was hugely impressive for Benfica last season and has proved he has the ability to produce the goods in European competition as well.

"Lazar is flexible to play a number of positions, but I like the way he attacks games and is always positive. He will fit in with the way we play."

Markovic set his sights on re-establishing Liverpool's Champions League credentials.

"I have already played in the Champions League with Benfica. It is superb that Liverpool are in it," he said.

Liverpool have managed to offload Iago Aspas, who has joined Sevilla, initially on a year's loan, but the deal is guaranteed to be made permanent next summer. Liverpool believe that they will recoup most of the £7m they paid Celta Vigo thanks to the terms of his La Liga return. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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