Liverpool winger Lazar Markovic could be set to drop down to the Championship to join Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle United.
Markovic has found himself out of Jurgen Klopp’s first-team thinking for 2016/17, with the German needing a smaller squad due to a lack of European football.
Despite his attempts to impress his new manager during pre-season, Markovic was made available for loan, with Liverpool looking to seal a deal before the transfer window closes on August 31.
Sporting CP, Schalke 04 and AC Milan have all expressed their interest in the Serbian winger, but according to Goal’s Melissa Reddy, Newcastle have emerged as a likely destination.
Benitez has reportedly highlighted Markovic as his priority target in bolstering his attacking line, and the player is believed to be interested in a move to St. James’ Park.
The Magpies are said to be looking to sign Markovic on loan or on a permanent deal.
But Liverpool are said to value the former Benfica star at £16 million, referencing a previous offer from Sporting earlier in the summer, with Markovic turning down a move back to Portugal.
Turning out in the Championship would provide Markovic with an ideal platform to restore his confidence, after two miserable seasons at Liverpool and on loan with Fenerbahce.
The Serbian struggled with a series of hamstring injuries with the Turkish club in 2015/16, hampering his progress during a bizarre spell.
The decision to send Markovic to Istanbul was widely derided at the time, and it proved to be a fruitless mission.
Klopp explored the possibility of recalling the 22-year-old in January, but this proved impossible, and now the £30 million signing of Sadio Mane from Southampton has reduced his prospects at Anfield.
It seems unlikely that Markovic would return to Liverpool on a long-term basis if he did leave on loan, but joining Newcastle for a temporary spell at least keeps Klopp’s options open for the future.