Born in Marseille and product of his hometown’s youth academy, Maxime Lopez has hit the ground running under manager Rudi García, writes Sam May.
The promising and lively 18-year-old attacking midfielder who is a target for both Liverpool and Arsenal, showed signs of his qualities following his Ligue 1 debut last Sunday against Bordeaux at the Stade Vélodrome.
Both clubs are monitoring the situation closely, having sent scout to watch the youngster on a number of occasions. Liverpool will look to add to their attacking line in January with Sadio Mané set to join Senegal at the African Cup of Nations, in Gabon. The Reds have known about the starlet since the age of 16 and Jürgen Klopp may look to make a move should he fail in his attempts to sign Christian Pulisic from his former club Borussia Dortmund.
Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger may look to fill the void left by the injured Santi Cazorla, who is expected to spend a lengthy time on the sidelines, following an Achilles injury picked up in Arsenal 6-0 thrashing over Ludogorets Razgrad in the UEFA Champions League back in October.
Lopez is the brightest prospect since Samir Nasri, who made the step up to the first-team in 2004 and is hoping to go onto bigger things just like the former Arsenal and Manchester City man. Being a confident and intelligent player, he has quickly emerged on to the scene, becoming Marseille’s midfield maestro and showed he is capable of living up to expectations.
The technical player is good on the ball, meaning that he can look up and take on defences, making things happen with ease. Like Nasri, who made 121 appearances for the French side before moving to Arsenal for €16 million, Lopez can play in the No.10 position, and has the same stature as his fellow countryman.
The Gunners were keen to secure his services back in 2014, before he signed a new deal with the French outfit. There is no question Marseille will act quickly to try and persuade the starlet to stay in the South of France. They will however, struggle to keep hold of their star man, amid renewed interest from two the biggest clubs in the Premier League.