On transfer deadline day in January, Fulham supporters were anxious for the club to bring in some cover to bolster their threadbare defence.
At that time, the club had only signed winger Ryan Babel, and with hours to go, Fulham added defensive midfielder and centre-back Havard Nordtveit to the squad.
But the club’s final signing of the window took many by surprise — and is a contender for being Fulham’s worst ever signing.
Lazar Markovic joined on a six-month, short-term deal from Liverpool and has failed to make an impact since. When Cottagers fans were crying out for defenders and consistency, what they got was a mercurial winger who has barely seen the pitch and seems to have been signed largely to keep compatriot Aleksandar Mitrovic company.
After failing to make the grade at Anfield following early signs of promise, Markovic endured a litany of failed loan spells across Europe — from Hull City to Anderlecht.
And in SW6, Fulham supporters have seen why the attacker has struggled to make an impact at so many different clubs.
Markovic made his debut in the second half of Fulham’s 3-1 loss against West Ham United in late February, coming on for Ryan Sessegnon and being deployed on the left wing. There were flashes of pace and some bright touches, but crucially little invention or cutting edge in the final third.
Since that cameo in east London, Markovic hasn’t been seen in a Fulham shirt. In the next eight matches, the Serbian made the bench once, against Southampton. Markovic was left out of the squad for the others.
The winger has been struggling with injury, which has limited his opportunities at Craven Cottage. But sadly for the 25-year-old and for Fulham, he had little chance to avert their relegation.
Although Markovic hasn’t actively led to poor results on the pitch for the Whites, his signing will nevertheless go down in history as a mark of poor transfer management by the club.
Acquiring him was low-risk, but his lack of impact has been glaring.
For a team that needed solid defenders and midfielders, the signing was a startling example of how misguided Fulham’s transfer dealings were — leading to Markovic’s arrival being labelled as a poor transfer, and one of the club’s worst.