This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
Liverpool could make a formal approach for Benfica's Lazar Markovic within the next week as the Portuguese giants moved to replace the winger.
The Reds have prioritised the Serbian speedster after discovering top target Alexis Sanchez prefers a move to Arsenal or Juventus, and are close to agreeing personal terms on a long-term deal to bring Markovic to Anfield.
But Liverpool have not yet made a formal approach to Benfica for the wideman as any written offer would then trigger the first-option agreement Chelsea have on the player, inserted in his 2013 transfer, giving Jose Mourinho first refusal and the opportunity to sign him instead.
Chelsea have given no indications that they are in the market for a wide forward but the Stamford Bridge club have, in recent years, taken to player trading as a way of generating revenue.
The sales of Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku are likely to have netted the Blues a combined profit of around £25million when the striker leaves this summer, despite only playing a handful of games for Chelsea, and Markovic could be viewed as a similar investment.
However, the indications are that Markovic's preference is for a move to Anfield to play first-team football and that Benfica will sell if Liverpool meet the 20-year-old's buyout clause.
The Primeira Liga side are on the brink of signing Brazilian midfielder Anderson Talisca from Bahia as they look to buy up the next generation of stars from secondary markets, as well as negotiating with Estudiantes de La Plata over Argentine forward Guido Carrillo.
Having already let Ezequiel Garay head to Zenit St Petersburg this summer, Benfica aren't desperate to sell players but will make a significant profit on Markovic if they are willing to compromise on the buyout clause and accept the likely £22million offer Liverpool have prepared.