Teenager snubs Liverpool overture via Gerrard
LONDON: Liverpool used former midfielder Steven Gerrard and the promise of replacing Philippe Coutinho in a bid to lure Marseille star Maxime Lopez to the club, but he rejected their overtures.
According to French newspaper L’Equipe, the Reds looked to firm up their interest in the 19year-old, but Lopez snubbed joining them in preference of prolonging his stay at the Stade Velodrome.
Coutinho’s recent struggles to rediscover his form has only served to underline Liverpool’s need for greater creativity to break down teams reluctant to offer much in the attacking third, but Lopez was not convinced he was ready to make the switch.
“They approached me in a good way. I even met Steven Gerrard at the stadium after a game,” the France Under 20 international told L’Equipe regarding a meeting during the 2014-15 season.
“They said to me, ‘In five years you get Coutinho’s place’. I wanted to go there, but also to stay at Marseille. To go like that, at this age and even with your family, is very hard.
“I had noticed that they had 30 young professional players, not to mention the youth players. You really have to be mentally prepared.”
Lopez, who had also attracted interest from Arsenal and Barcelona, opted to stay put with the Ligue 1 outfit and even signed a new contract as a sign of commitment after forcing his way into Rudi Garcia’s first-team plans.
The attacking midfielder, who has scored once in 23 appearances this season and was named Ligue 1 Player of the Month in December, is now contracted to Marseille until the summer of 2021. Daily Mail