Real Madrid are now firmly in the race to sign Marseille starlet and Liverpool target Maxime Lopez, according to reports in Spain.
Both Barcelona and Liverpool have been credited with a keen interest in the 19-year-old, who is considered to be the next big talent to emerge from the Marseille academy. Lopez only made his senior debut in August 2016 but already Europe’s elite have begun to make enquiries over a possible move later down the line.
Lopez signed a new contract at the Stade Veledrome in February this year but revealed shortly afterwards Liverpool had made an approach to bring him to the club, offering him the promise of being Philippe Coutinho’s long-term successor at Anfield as an incentive to make the move. The France Under-21 starlet decided to remain at OM, but did leave the door open for a move later down the line.
Barcelona have also stepped up their interest. According to Mundo Deportivo, officials from the Nou Camp travelled to France to meet with Lopez’s agent in August to discuss a move that was take the youngster to the Santiago Bernabeu next summer.
But Real Madrid are also hoping to convince the youngster to join then, according to SPORT. Real’s transfer policy has shifted in recent years with the club looking to sign promising young players they can ease into the first-team with Marco Asensio a prime example of its current success.
The presence of Zidane, who like Lopez was born in Marseille, could also help Real land the player, with the head coach already a huge fan.
“[Lopez} He’s part of the family and I’ve known him for a very long time. Especially my kids, who know him very well – they played together in Aix-en-Provence,” the Real Madrid boss revealed last year. “He always had this outstanding natural talent at his age and for his stature.
“It’s amazing what he’s doing, not just at his age, because today age means nothing, but mostly because of the personality he has in the game. In other words, he’s someone who runs a lot, but is someone who plays a lot and makes others play as well.”
However, Barcelona also have someone in Lopez’s ear, with club legend Andoni Zubizarreta serving as Marseille’s director of football. According to SPORT, Lopez is also a close friend of Ousmane Dembele, who this summer joined the Catalan giants from Borussia Dortmund.