Eric Abidal is close to a return to Ligue 1 newcomers Monaco, his agent has confirmed.
The 33-year-old, who recovered from a liver transplant to return to action in April, will be a free agent at the end of the month after Barcelona announced their intention not to renew his contract.
A number of clubs across Europe are thought to hold an interest in the full-back but Abidal's representative David Ventidelli revealed that his preference is to return to France.
Claudio Ranieri's side have lured a number of world-class players to the principality, with Falcao, James Rodriguez, Joao Moutinho and Ricardo Carvalho all agreeing to move to the Stade Louis II.
Abidal now looks set to join them, with Ventidelli admitting that a short-team deal with the club he played for between 2000 and 2002 is in the offing.
He told Fichajes: "(Monaco, Lyon and Montpellier) are interested in Abidal. There's interest from other leagues too, but Eric's preference is to return to France for family reasons. Monaco are his number one choice.
"(The Monaco offer) is a relatively short contract because Eric is 33 years old. Despite the health problems he's had, he is in good shape. The contract duration will be short but there could be options afforded to the player once we've completed negotiations.
"Negotiations with Monaco will be settled one way or another by next week as Eric has other proposals. We must be respectful to other clubs."
However, Ventidelli refused to rule Lyon completely out of the running.
"Of course, because Eric Abidal is Lyon," he added. "His international career started through playing at Lyon.
"He has a great relationship with the club. There are talks with Lyon and his relationship with the club means there's a chance, but we're concentrating on Monaco at the moment as it's his first choice."
Ventidelli hinted that new Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola is interested in reuniting with Abidal but stressed that his client has his heart set on playing in France.
"There are some clubs in Germany (that want to sign him)," he explained.
"There's a close friend and coach who knows Eric well but, again, his preference is to return to France"
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