Newcastle United have had a distinguished history with attackers, ranging from Faustino Asprilla to David Copperfield, David Ginola. Rafa Benitez, the European Cup winner with undoubted coaching credentials, and tactically, still regarded as one of the very best in Europe, has been tasked with the unenviable task of bringing the storied club of Newcastle United out of its lurch and back into the limelight, where they rightfully belong. The first step along the way, as any manager would stress upon, is getting the right players, and more importantly, the right players in the best deals.
Goes without saying, that Rafa Benitez is the shrewdest minds in the business, and this potential deal which hangs in the balance could pave the way for not only the resurgence of the player, who was deemed to be the best talent at under-20’s since Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo not too long ago; but also prove to be a shot in the arm for the Tynesiders, who have been deprived of magic for way too long.
The man in question is Liverpool’s Lazar Markovic, who before an ill-fated stint at the mismanaging hands of Brendan Rodgers (who confounded everyone by playing him as a right-back); in Benfica, with whom he won the domestic treble in 2013, was deemed to be one of the best prospects in Europe. And Spaniard is apparently willing to go ‘above and beyond‘ in an attempt to sign the Serbian Messi.
JD of The 4th Official explores the reasons behind Rafa Benitez’s determination to sign the wing wizard from the claws of stockpiling obscurity, at Anfield.
#1 Potential To Be One of The Very Best In The World
“It was brilliant playing with this fantastic player for six months. He has massive potential. He could be one of Europe’s best players in his position”
– Nemanja Matic, ex-Benfica team-mate
“I will say without hesitation that, apart from Ronaldo and Messi, Lazar Markovic is one of the best talents I’ve ever seen at 19 years of age”
– Avram Grant
At Benfica, Lazar Markovic had the world at his feet. Chelsea, Manchester United were all trailing him, before Liverpool threw the fat wad of cash worth 20 million GBP at Jorge Jesus, the Benfica manager, who begrudgingly had to sell.
He was turning heads all around, being deemed as the brightest spark Serbia have had, for the better part of a decade. Initially brought off the bench as a game-changer, he, on the back of just a few performances, established himself as a mainstay.
#2 Electric, Exhilarating Pace
His boundless energy and speed pegs back teams, with or without the ball, will be a trait that Rafa Benitez would love – since his teams are mostly set up to hit opponents on the counter, after regaining possession at the highest possible point up the pitch. The Serbian’s work-rate and harrying off the ball has never been in doubt in doubt in his stay at Liverpool. On the ball, he’s off like a lightning – his dribbling style, with small, measured steps on facing a defender, yet maintaining his momentum, and a clever change of pace and direction makes him almost impossible to defend against in a one-on-one situation, when he’s high on confidence.
#3 Team Player and Consummate Professional
Lazar has had a proper footballing education – that is to say, not just the technical and tactical aspects of the game, but the professional nuances that are required of a footballer. Not once, when he was shoehorned as a right wing back by Brendan Rodgers, did he complain – something the modern footballer is all too used to. He played for the team and ran himself into the ground for the betterment of his team. Thankfully, if he’s given the escape route that his talent and sincerity deserves, he would be played in his much, much-preferred position of a right-wing forward or through the middle as a number 10, where he’s most deadly.