Duncan Castles is reporting that Chelsea have declined their first option on Benfica winger Lazar Markovic, who will now sign with Liverpool for €25 million. Here's what Castles had to say on Chelsea's reasoning for passing on the Serbian youngster:
While Chelsea held an option to buy Markovic from Benfica and his third-party owners for a total consideration of €15M, the London club elected not to activate it. Chelsea's scouting section had filed mixed reports on Markovic this year, and a forward of the Serb's experience was not considered a priority in Jose Mourinho's restructuring plans this summer.
Castles has been on a bit of a roll with all things Chelsea since Jose Mourinho took over, and in the past twelve months he's become a fairly accurate source as far as Chelsea transfer news in concerned. With that in mind, it sounds as if Lazar Markovic will be heading to Liverpool in relatively short order, though that club will need a lot more than that to overcome the loss of the best player in the Premier League.
It was a bit surprising when the Blues didn't finish the signing last summer, instead allowing the player to move to Benfica for a relatively small fee. I guess in that sense, it's not all that surprising that the Blues passed on their option to bring him in for about double the rumored price 12-months ago, though I have to say, it would have been awfully fun to troll Liverpool and their fans yet again.
I do have to agree with Mourinho here though, a young, developing attacking midfielder should hardly be high on the priority list this summer, especially after adding Cesc Fabregas to help create. I'm fine with dumping all of our remaining transfer money into filling a Paul Pogba shaped hole.