Teenager snubs Liver­pool over­ture via Ger­rard

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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

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