The race for 16-year-old Marseille midfielder Maxime Lopez has stepped up a gear this weekend. After being invited to Liverpool as a guest of Brendan Rodgers to watch the recent Merseyside derby, now Arsenal’s Chief Scout Giles Grimandi has reportedly run the rule over the talented play-maker.
Lopez was playing for Marseille’s U17 side in the national championship and it is reported that the Arsenal scout and former player was in attendance to watch the young player in action.
Grimandi and the small number of fans in attendance were not left disappointed by Lopez’s performance, the player wearing the number 10 in the video set up Marseille’s opening two goals as they saw off neighbours Nimes 3-0. Young forward Jeremie Porsan-Clemente scored two of the home sides’ goals in the comfortable victory.
The opening goal shows Lopez find space in the box before beating his man and unselfishly squaring for Porsan to give OM a 1-0 lead. For the second goal, Lopez again finds himself in acres of space on the left flank, he looks up and picks out Anis Libotte on the edge of the box, the young attacker does well to apply the finish.
Liverpool may have been too quick in showing their hand to the other clubs in England. Now that their interest is known, other clubs are now joining the queue to take a look at the talented prospect.
His age and the rules in France mean that he cannot sign a professional deal with Marseille, giving English clubs the chance to steal in and offer the players a decent contract. They would only have to offer Marseille and compulsory amount to cover training fees, nothing near the millions of pounds it would cost to sign him up once he turns professional.
As well as playing for the U17 side, he has also impressed for the U19s in the UEFA Youth Cup this season. His performances against Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal definitely alerted watching scouts to his obvious ability.
It is obviously too early to tell just how good Lopez could be, but the interest from Arsenal and Liverpool may well have Marseille officials worried that they could lose one of their top prospects before he is able to pull on the famous white jersey of his home town.