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Liverpool Target Maxime Lopez Would Be Right to Choose Reds over Arsenal

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 28:  General View of the Bill Shankly statue outside the Kop prior to  the FA Cup Fourth Round match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield on January 28, 2012 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Matt LadsonFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2014

Liverpool are currently linked with Marseille youngster Maxime Lopez, with The Daily Mail reporting that the teenager was a guest at Anfield for the Merseyside derby and even met with manager Brendan Rodgers.

Lopez is described as a 16-year-old playmaker who is rated the "brightest prospect in the French club's youth system" and "has prompted scouts from Europe's elite clubs to visit the south of France to take a closer look."

Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City are also interested, according to The Express.

They quote a French "source," explaining: "If a foreign club offers €20,000 per month to a 16-year-old kid, plus a stake to the parents, what can you do?

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

Website 101GreatGoals say that Lopez "has been compared to Mathieu Valbuena due to his similar slight frame and short stature."

 

Opportunities

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 08:  Liverpool Manager Brendan Rodgers applauds during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on February 8, 2014 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Each of the reports claim that Rodgers explained how youngsters are being, and will continue to be, given a chance under his management at Liverpool.

The Reds boss would be right to explain as such, with a host of players from the club's academy given first-team opportunities in Rodgers first 18 months in charge at Anfield.

Rodgers' first season in charge saw Adam Morgan, Suso, Andre Wisdom, Samed Yesil, Jerome Sinclair, Conor Coady and Jordon Ibe all handed their first-team debuts for the club. Lloyd Jones was also included in matchday squads toward the end of the campaign.

Joao Carlos Teixeira has been added to that list this season, while Raheem Sterling's development has continued impressively over the past three months and Jon Flanagan has made a remarkable comeback to the first-team.

While some of those youngsters will ultimately not make the grade at Liverpool—Morgan, for instance, has already left the club recently—it shows Rodgers' willingness to provide the opportunity for them.

 

Philosophy

Speaking to Liverpool's new online TV service, LFCTV GO, Rodgers explained that, for him, success was not just about winning trophies (via This Is Anfield).

There’s no point in having a youth system and an academy system in place if you’re not going to look from within

For me and how I work, it’s part of my definition of success. Some people will be based purely on trophies – and that is ultimately what you are judged on.

But for me and when I eventually retire from football I want to be able to look back and see that not only have I won trophies but I’ve developed a football club that has brought through their own players.

That’s something that’s very important in my work. Other managers may be different and might just be about purely winning trophies, but for me success isn’t just picking up the trophy at the end of the season.

It’s also about the football club, giving the value to young players and seeing them develop.

These are refreshing quotes from the Liverpool manager, in a world where modern football is so highly dominated by results and managers are increasingly less inclined to give a youngster a chance due to the pressures associated with the job.

Rodgers has clearly been given confidence from his superiors to instill his philosophy at Liverpool. Therefore, credit must also be given to FSG for advocating as such.

Liverpool know that they cannot throw hundreds of millions in a manner that Manchester City and Chelsea before them did in order to break Manchester United's previous dominance in the Premier League. Thus, in order to gain an advantage, Liverpool are seeking to build from within and get value for money at every opportunity.

No longer will Liverpool sign a player for an exorbitant price or carry a player on high wages when their wage does not reflect their status in the squad.

 

Youth

Of those aforementioned names, you can expect that some will leave Liverpool, just as Morgan has. But the likes of Sterling (19), Flanagan (21), Suso (20), Wisdom (20) and Ibe (18) in particular appear to have a bright future ahead of them at Anfield.

Also out on loan, duo Tiago Ilori (21) and Fabio Borini (22) will also likely be part of Rodgers bigger squad next campaign.

HYDE, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 23:  Adam Morgan of Liverpool U21 celebrates with Jordan Rossiter on his back after scoring the first goal during the Barclays U21s Premier League match between Manchester City U21 and Liverpool U21 at Ewen Fields on September 23
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Add in some impressive talents already at the club's academy, such as 16-year-old midfielders Jordan Rossiter and Pedro Chirivella, full-backs Brad Smith and Ryan McLaughlin (both 19) and it's clear to see why Liverpool appear to have such a bright future.

 

Liverpool

As a club, on every level—be it on and off the pitch—Liverpool are on a very upward curve with fresh management throughout and fresh talent at first-team and academy level. They are a club that players will want to be at even more once, hopefully, Champions League qualification is achieved.

Meanwhile, huge question marks must persist around Arsenal's development under Arsene Wenger, seemingly hitting their annual slump in performances just at the crucial stage of the season. Nine years without a trophy and looking unlikely to break that run any time soon, the London side are going the opposite direction to Liverpool.

With Tottenham and Manchester United looking to catch the Gunners too, their place in Europe's elite could be under threat very soon.

Lopez, and any other youngsters for that matter, would be wise to choose Liverpool for a multitude of reasons.

"The Reds are coming up the hill boys..."

 

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