Manchester City youngster Marcos “Rony Lopes” has spent this season on loan at French club Lille OSC. It was hoped that the attacking midfielder would gain valuable first-team experience and help his immediate progression, giving him a chance to become a regular at the Etihad Stadium.
Although his time at Lille has been heavily disrupted with injuries, the Portuguese Under-21 international is now back to full fitness and has been a huge part of Lille’s recent success in the league.
The 19-year-old was suspended for Sunday’s 3-0 win over Rennes, but will return for the away trip to Saint-Etienne. Victory for Lille would give them an outside hope of finishing in the Europa League places.
Lopes was vital as Lille beat Lyon 2-1 at home, scoring the second after setting up Idrissa Gueye for the equaliser, and he would then provide an assist for Nolan Roux to score the only goal against Guingamp.
Speaking to the official Lille website, Lopes has opened the door for another loan spell in Lille next season:
“I feel at home with LOSC. Staying is a possibility," he said.
“Next season? I have a contract with City. I feel really good now. I have been entrusted with more responsibilities. This is important; it means that they believe in me.”
Lopes has made 17 appearances for the club, 10 of them from the start. He has scored three goals and has those two assists this season, but it is his overall performances that have made him a firm fan-favourite at the Stade Pierre Mauroy.
Whenever he gets the ball, the fans rise with anticipation in the knowledge that something could happen. His skill on the ball, quick changes of direction and ability to pick a pass make him a credible danger in the final third.
Lopes has a contract with City up to the summer of 2016, but it is expected that the club won’t allow him to leave on another loan deal without signing an extension on his current deal.
City would be loath to lose him on a free transfer in 15 months, but without signing a new deal, the only alternative would be to sell him this summer. That would all but rule out a move to the French side.