Transfer news

Marseille battling to keep Maxime Lopez

February 7, 2014
By Ian Holyman, France Correspondent

Marseille fear they will suffer the same fate as other French teams before them as Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City track teenage prodigy Maxime Lopez.

Maxime Lopez
GettyImagesMaxime Lopez has attracted interest from a number of clubs in England.

Le Havre and Lens respectively saw Paul Pogba and Gael Kakuta snapped up controversially by Manchester United and Chelsea before the pair could be signed to professional deals by their French clubs.

Now Marseille face a similar prospect with playmaker Lopez, who would only be able to turn professional when he celebrates his 17th birthday in December.

Media reports claim a number of Premier League clubs are all pursuing the teenager, who has impressed in OM’s U19 side's UEFA Youth League campaign.

"If a foreign club offers a 16-year-old kid 20,000 euros a month, and a stake to the parents, what are we supposed to do?" an unnamed Marseille source told La Provence.

"That's the law of the business of football, but we hope he'll choose with his heart."

A meeting was due to be held between Lopez's family and Marseille representatives on Thursday in an attempt to tie the youngster to the Ligue 1 side.

Currently, teams seeking to sign Lopez would merely have to pay OM a fee to cover their nurturing of the player through their youth academy.

Such moves do not happen between French clubs due to a “non-aggression pact” that stops them cherry-picking the best young talent from domestic rivals.

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