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Football

Gerard poised for Monaco transfer


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Barcelona (Spain)

PARIS, France -- Monaco are poised to complete the signing of Barcelona midfielder Gerard on a free transfer.

The player is expected to sign a three-year contract with the principality club, sports daily L'Equipe has claimed.

One of Spain's best prospects in 2000 when he won six caps, Gerard has been plagued by fitness problems since joining Barcelona from Valencia for just over $20 million.

Gerard will slip even further down the pecking order at the Nou Camp with the signing of Mark van Bommel from PSV Eindhoven.

The 26-year-old has not been offered a new contract by Barca and he did not play at the weekend in their final game of the season, a goalless draw at Real Sociedad.

"Against Chelsea in the Champions League, he played as a defensive midfielder and he was very good," said Monaco assistant coach Jean Petit.

"It is true we are interested in this player," he added.

"First of all, he is a free agent. And he is able to deputise for players like Andreas Zikos and Lucas Bernardi."

Gerard, who underwent groin surgery in November, made only 13 Primera Liga appearances for Barca in the season just ended.

Monaco are also set to sign Rennes forward Toifilou Maoulida on a four-year deal.

Maoulida, who scored seven goals in 31 appearances for the Brittany side this season, is expected to sign a contract on Tuesday.

The former Montpellier player, 25, began his professional career in 1997.


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