With Leroy Sane set to join Manchester City this summer, Schalke have turned their attentions to Liverpool winger Lazar Markovic.
Sane is pushing for a £42 million move to the Etihad Stadium, with the young Germany international set to bolster Pep Guardiola’s attacking ranks.
The 20-year-old made 42 appearances for Schalke in 2015/16, scoring nine goals and laying on seven assists, leading to a call-up to Joachim Low’s squad for this summer’s European Championship.
Assessing their options ahead of the departure of one of his key attackers, Schalke manager Markus Weinzierl is said to have highlighted Markovic as a target.
According to Goal’s Melissa Reddy, the former Augsburg boss has “made an informal enquiry” into Markovic’s availability.
With the 22-year-old surplus to requirements under Jurgen Klopp following Liverpool’s failure to qualify for European football in 2015/16, he could well leave Merseyside this summer.
Markovic is said to have turned down the opportunity to return to Portugal with Sporting CP, with Germany or Italy his most likely destination.
Vying with Schalke for his signature will be Serie A outfit Fiorentina, who have also approached Markovic’s representatives this summer.
Reports in Portugal on Tuesday suggested Liverpool were looking to seal a permanent deal for the Serbian, and would likely look to recoup a significant portion of the £20 million they paid to sign him from Benfica in 2014.
Markovic endured a disappointing maiden campaign under Brendan Rodgers on Merseyside, despite showing flashes of quality when unleashed in his natural attacking role.
This was followed by a season on loan with Turkish giants Fenerbahce, but this was disrupted by a series of hamstring injuries.
Markovic laid on the first goal of Liverpool’s 2-0 pre-season friendly win over Wigan Athletic on Sunday afternoon, but has largely struggled to impose himself on proceedings this summer.
Klopp has already added to his attacking ranks with the £30 million signing of Sadio Mane from Southampton, with Newcastle United’s Georginio Wijnaldum the next player in his sights.
This has heightened competition significantly, with a number of top-level talents all vying for a starting role.
Twenty-year-old winger Jordon Ibe has also left the club, joining Bournemouth in a deal worth £15 million, while academy talent Sergi Canos has joined Norwich City for an initial £2.5 million.
Giving up on a player of Markovic’s potential would be a disappointment, and the prospect of the forward linking up with new signing Breel Embolo at Schalke is an intriguing one.