Few managers can match Arsene Wenger’s track-record for snapping up outstanding talents without breaking the bank – and it seems the Frenchman is on course to secure the services of another little-known gem in the form of Marseille midfielder Maxime Lopez.
The 18-year-old is drawing comparisons to fellow Marseille old-boy Samir Nasri, with his skill on the ball, eye for a pass and finishing all combining to make Lopez an outstanding young talent.
Having come through the prestigious youth system at Stade Velodrome, which produced the likes of Nasri and Andre Ayew, the teenage attacking midfielder impressed in his 23 league appearances for Olympique Marseille II in the French fourth-tier last season.
Despite his small frame, there’s no doubt the creative and intelligent Lopez can handle the physicality of senior football, and that’s a view shared by L’OM boss Rudi Garcia.
He’s handed the local lad five first-team appearances this season, with Lopez having already chalked up a superb assist for Florian Thauvin’s goal at Guingamp.
While Arsenal aren’t exactly lacking talent in midfield, the fact Wenger’s men are battling on four fronts right now – Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and EFL Cup – means that January reinforcements shouldn’t be sniffed at, especially with Lopez potentially available at a bargain price.
With the youngster out of contract in the summer, Transfermarkt.co.uk estimate his current asking price at just £510k – an absolute steal for a player of such big potential.
For now though, Arsenal’s focus will be on Sunday’s north London derby against Tottenham, with the hosts 10/11 for victory at the Emirates – while 20/1 says the Gunners record a third 3-2 win in seven outings.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing