Today it was announced on the Olympique de Marseille website that young 16-year-old midfielder Maxime Lopez has signed his first professional contract with the French club.
This will end any current interest from Premier League side Liverpool, and would mean that any club that wanted to pursue the talented youngster would have to stump up a huge transfer fee to convince Marseille to let him go.
Marseille will hope that he can go on to emulate the likes of Samir Nasri and Mathieu Valbuena, graduate from the youth sides and pull on the famous white jersey and represent OM at the Stade Velodrome for years to come. Liverpool will be disappointed to miss out on Lopez at this time, but they will of course keep tabs on the youngster as he looks like a quality young talent, and worth another attempt in the future.
He signed his new contract on Monday, along with fellow U17 forward Jérémie Porsan-Clemente, both players have been stars of Marseille’s Under-17 side this season, and they have also been included in their team for the UEFA Youth League, both players impressing against players much older than themselves, this is what has brought Lopez to the attention of both Liverpool and Arsenal.
Brendan Rodgers was very interested in bringing Lopez to Anfield that he invited the youngster to the club to watch the derby match against Everton this season. Arsenal were always reportedly interested, with chief scout Giles Grimandi heading down to the south of France to watch Lopez in person. The game he saw was the 3-0 win over Nimes, with Lopez grabbing two assists that day.
Lopez played against Borussia Dortmund, Napoli and Arsenal in this season’s UEFA Youth League, by all reports he was very impressive, scoring against the Germans in a 4-1 win and providing two assists against the Italians.
With this new deal Marseille will be hoping that it won’t be long until he is doing the same in the Champions League. What are the odds he pops up with a goal or an assist against Liverpool at Anfield?