Lazar Markovic signs for Liverpool
Liverpool have confirmed the signing of Lazar Markovic from Benfica after the Portuguese club announced the sale of the winger for 20 million pounds.
Markovic, 20, who is the Reds' fourth signing of the summer, has penned a long-term contract with the club.
Liverpool have been tracking the winger for several months, with manager Brendan Rodgers seeking extra attacking options as he prepares for the club's return to the Champions League after a four-season absence. Rodgers is also looking to help cover the loss of Luis Suarez, who is set for a move to Barcelona.
Markovic told Liverpool's official website: "I am very happy that I have joined such a great club.
"I hope that I will fulfil the expectations of the supporters, coaches, players and all connected to the club. I have seen what the players are like, I have seen what the supporters are like, and I cannot wait to start playing here."
Benfica confirmed that a deal has been agreed on Tuesday after releasing an official statement. The Portuguese champions entered talks with Liverpool after the Premier League club agreed to meet the release clause in the player's contract.
The statement read: "Sporting Lisbon, in compliance with Article 248 of the Code of Values Securities, announces that it has reached an agreement with Liverpool FC for the transfer of the outright sports rights and 50 percent of the economic rights they held of athlete Lazar Markovic for the amount of 12.5 million euros."
Markovic confirmed the move was imminent on Sunday, posting a message to Benfica fans on his official Facebook account which read: "Thank you for everything and goodbye!"
He will join the Reds a year after moving to Benfica from his first club Partizan Belgrade on a five-year deal.
The Serbia international helped Benfica win the Portuguese domestic treble last season, and was also a key figure in their run to the Europa League final. However, Markovic missed the final itself -- which ended in defeat against Sevilla in Turin -- because of suspension.
Rodgers added: "This is an exciting signing for us and one that improves our squad, in terms of attacking options, for the coming season.
"He was hugely impressive for Benfica last season and has proved he has the ability to produce the goods in European competition as well, which will be important for us.
"Lazar is flexible to play a number of positions, but I like the way he attacks games and is always positive and looking to make something happen. He will fit in with the way we play at Liverpool.
"Getting him at such a young age is also very pleasing for us, because we will be able to work with him to develop his talent within our group and improve him even further.
"He is the sort of character who is hungry to get better and progress; this is what we look for in players."
Markovic's signing follows the summer arrivals at Anfield of England internationals Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana from Southampton, and Germany under-21 midfielder Emre Can from Bayer Leverkusen.