Born, raised and developed as a footballer in Marseille, Maxime López remains one of the few first-team members of André Villas-Boas’ squad who are from the region.

He has a close affinity to the club, which he joined from local side FC Burel in 2010, and came through the academy until reaching the first-team in 2014 at a very young age.

That isn’t to say that he didn’t come close to leaving a couple of times, however, as he reminded fans in a Twitch stream with gamer Warkik, relayed by RMC Sport, of his near transfer to Liverpool back when he was 16.

He’s already spoken about it a couple of times in the past, but the midfielder was approached by the Anfield side around the time he broke through into Marseille’s plans.

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He said Liverpool did ‘everything for me to sign’, before adding: “I really hesitated, but I don’t regret it anymore today. I made the right choice”.

With his slight frame and more technical than physical attributes, it might have been the right choice to avoid the Premier League when he did, but his talent wasn’t just spotted by those at Anfield.

Barcelona also came knocking a bit later, around 2016, and while he never signed, the possibility of doing so was there.

López enjoyed a mixed season under Villas-Boas this year, as he wasn’t a regular starter yet remained an option the Portuguese liked using in his midfield in the right situation.

The 22-year-old made 27 appearances in all competitions and picked up three assists before the season was stopped by the Covid-19 pandemic.