Marseille midfielder Maxime Lopez has revealed that he turned down the opportunity to join Liverpool in 2014, despite big assurances from the club.
The 19-year-old opted to stay in France but it could have been an entirely different story had he chosen to move to Anfield two years ago.
Speaking to L’Equipe, the youngster revealed that Liverpool pulled out the stops to persuade him to make the move to England, and had even suggested to him that he would eventually play in Philippe Coutinho’s role, thus suggesting the Reds may have expected the Brazilian to move on in due course.
“They told me: ‘In five years, you’ll play in Coutinho’s position.’ They really sang my praises. I even met Steven Gerrard in the stadium after the match,” Lopez said.
“I wanted to go there, but also to stay at OM. To leave like that, at that age even if my family would have gone too, it was very hard. I had noted that they had thirty-odd young professional players, not even counting the first team. You really have to be ready mentally.”
Having decided against moving to England at such a young age, he’s continued his development with Marseille where he has made 21 Ligue 1 appearances so far this season and has scored one goal while providing five assists.
Despite that limited influence, he has recently signed a two-year extension with the club, and Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane gave him high praise in a recent interview as he predicts that he will be a star in the years to come.
Perhaps his decision to snub Liverpool was a sensible one. Ultimately, sitting on the bench or being restricted to the youth team would not have allowed him to get to this stage so quickly as he will undoubtedly hope to go from strength to strength and eventually be a main protagonist for club and country in pursuit of major honours.