In this series Nick Harris looks at some of the young players who may be the biggest new stars of 2013. Lazar Markovic is the subject of this article, with the youngster making the news in recent weeks as Chelsea and Arsenal chase his signature.
18 year old Lazar Markovic is already a name familiar to plenty of fans around Europe, with the Serbian striker reportedly coveted by a string of top clubs. The wonderkid currently plays for Partizan Belgrade, and has impressed both for them, and also at at international level, leading to the club slapping a £10+ million price tag on his head.
Given his rapid development, there will be plenty of teams willing to meet that price, either in January, or more likely in the summer. The recent reports linking him with Chelsea had initially suggested that Markovic would be in London by the end of January, but both the player and his club have suggested he will see out the season in Serbia.
Markovic broke in to the Partizan first eleven in the summer of 2011 and made the Serbian SuperLiga’s team of the year despite only being 17 for nearly all of his debut season. The forward also made gained his first international cap last season, coming on against Armenia for his debut three days before his 18th birthday.
Markovic has continued to impress for club and country this year, scoring his first international goal in a friendly against Chile in November, and helping fire his club side clear at the top of the league in Serbia.
With this in mind, it seems almost certain that Markovic will be at a top European club by the end of 2013, and could perhaps leave Partizan as soon as January. The player generally operates as a second striker, but can play on either flank of a front three. Markovic is quick on and off the ball, adept with either foot, and a composed finisher. He is also reportedly a childhood Chelsea fan, which may help the Blues beat off competition from the likes of Arsenal and Inter to his signature.
Wherever he moves, Markovic will be stepping up a level at some stage next year, and will be thrust into the spotlight as a result. If he can continue to impress against better defenders in one of Europe’s top leagues, Lazar Markovic will be one of the most exciting young strikers in Europe next year.
image: © zongo