MASERU — Negotiations are at an advanced stage for Lioli star Montoeli Sonopo to join Spanish La Liga side Atletico Madrid, the Lesotho Times can reveal.
Talks between the two sides have been going on since April.
Lioli officials were reluctant to talk when contacted by the Lesotho Times this week but a source inside Tse Nala confirmed talks were at an “advanced stage”.
“Discussions are at an advanced stage, they are at a sensitive stage now,” the source said.
“The team will release more details when the right times comes. At the moment Lioli prefer to keep it under wraps to ensure that nothing goes wrong.”
The source however said talks were still going on and things were looking positive.
Lioli entered into discussions with Atletico Madrid over a possible move for Sonopo shortly after the Under-20 player put up a brilliant performance at the Caf African Youth Championship in April.
The 17-year-old speedster, who can play on either wing or behind the strikers, caught the attention of the Spanish side at a 10-day trial camp in Douala, Cameroon, last November.
The trials were attended by young talent from all over Africa and scouts from Europe’s top clubs including Atletico Madrid.
Sonopo’s attendance was facilitated by Fifa-accredited agent Olivier Noah who works for Noga Sports Management agency based in Cameroon and has links with Lioli.
The local team has continued to work with Noah as they look to secure Sonopo a potentially life-changing move to Europe.
Speaking to the Lesotho Times after the trials last year, the then Fifa coach, Alex Heredia, said he was impressed by the player’s performance although he needed to work on some areas.
“He is clearly a very talented player but at the moment he is not a team player, he needs to learn,” Heredia said.
Sonopo has been one the major starlets to emerge in local football over the past 18 months and was one of the bright spots of an otherwise disappointing campaign for his club Lioli this past season.
The player’s blistering pace, ball control and cutting edge have made him a fans’ favourite since joining Lioli from Nyenye Rovers last September