Marseille sign Barcelona target Maxime Lopez to new contract

Maxime Lopez has signed a new four-year contract with Marseille, the Ligue 1 side announced on Thursday.

The 19-year-old midfielder has been a regular in the team since October, drawing reported interest from Barcelona who were rumoured to be preparing an offer for the France Under-20 international this summer.

However, the ambitious French club have now managed to keep the former academy product at the Stade Velodrome until June 2021 -- a move Marseille president Jacques-Henri Eyraud believes sends a clear message to other young players at the club.

"Maxime Lopez's extension is a strong symbol for all of us," Eyraud said. "He is a young, talented player who is very appreciated by the fans, and to whom we want to give a chance to develop into a man at the foundation of our sporting project.

"Beyond that, the message we want to send to the young Marseille players is that everything is possible with OM as long as the following conditions are met: exceptional discipline and work ethic, personal talent, and a mentality to put the collective interest ahead of individual interest."

Lopez has contributed one goal and four assists in 18 Ligue 1 games thus far for Marseille, who currently sit sixth in the table, 22 points back of leaders Monaco.