Monaco keen on Abidal return
Eric Abidal looks likely to end his career where it began with the France international set to join big-spending Monaco before the end of the week.
Out of contract, the former Barcelona man, 33, is expected to become the newly-promoted club's fifth signing of an already highly-active summer at the Stade Louis II, where Abidal made his professional debut after signing from amateur club Lyon-Duchere in 2000.
Though established figures Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez, Joao Moutinho and Ricardo Carvalho will also be among the new faces in Claudio Ranieri's squad next season, Monaco sporting director Vadim Vasilyev expects Abidal to play an influential role in the dressing room as the principality club aims to re-establish itself in the top flight after a two-season absence.
"He's a strong player and man," Vasilyev told L'Equipe of the former Lille and Lyon defender, who overcame a liver transplant last year to return to first-team football at the Camp Nou. "If he can come back to Ligue 1, I think all of French football would be happy."
While the finer points of Abidal's contract remain to be finalised, Monaco continue their quest to boost the quality and quantity of the resources at Ranieri's disposal.
Vasilyev said he would request a meeting with Marseille to discuss bringing Nicolas Nkoulou, 23, back to the club, though added Monaco's continued fight against the French Football League decision to force them to be based in France for fiscal reasons, and so end their historical financial privileges, meant they "cannot advance" their interest in French players.
Despite that, L'Equipe claimed Monaco have contacted Anzhi Makhachkala about their midfielder Lassana Diarra, 28, while Vasilyev confirmed the Ligue 2 champions are closely following Newcastle United's Yohan Cabaye, 27. "He's a very interesting player," Vasilyev commented.