Soccer

Without Falcao, Monaco takes Berbatov on loan from Fulham

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The Canadian Press
1/31/2014 6:06:29 PM
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PARIS -- Dimitar Berbatov joined Monaco from Fulham on Friday in the latest chapter of the mercurial forward's career on an otherwise quiet final day of the transfer window in France.

Monaco is challenging fellow big-spender Paris Saint-Germain for the French title and needed to sign a striker to compensate for Colombia striker Radamel Falcao's long-term injury. Falcao is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing a ligament in his left knee on Jan. 22.

"I'm happy, excited, and a little bit nervous to be honest," the 33-year-old Berbatov said. "I'm looking forward to training with my new teammates and to open a new chapter in my career."

Berbatov shone in spells for Manchester United, Tottenham and Fulham, scoring 94 league goals in 229 league games. Prior to that, he netted 69 goals in 154 league games for German side Bayer Leverkusen. He also scored 48 goals in 77 matches for Bulgaria before retiring from the national team.

"Dimitar will bring us all his experience and talent. Of course, his arrival is connected to Falcao's injury," Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev said. "He's played in big clubs such as Manchester United and he's a great striker. We still have two competitions to play in and he will be an asset."

Monaco also reinforced its defence by signing centre half Aymen Abdennour on loan from Toulouse until the end of the season, with an option to buy the Tunisia international.

Meanwhile, having spent the off-season trying to sell key players in order to raise funds, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas spent the last hours of the January transfer window turning down bids.

Lyon's highly-rated midfielder Clement Grenier chose not to move to Newcastle, which is trying to replace Yohan Cabaye after selling him to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

Newcastle coach Alan Pardew had spoken about Grenier in glowing terms and the club was in advanced talks with Lyon.

"I've decided to stay with Lyon and, for me, the best place to be is Lyon," Grenier said Friday. "I had no intention of leaving this winter. We still have a lot of things we want to achieve, both collectively and individually -- with a view to the World Cup. It's the best thing for my personal improvement."

There were also offers for striker Bafetimbi Gomis, who will be out of contract at the end of the season and who Aulas desperately tried to sell in August, while the player steadfastly refused to go.

Marseille right back Rod Fanni also knocked back a chance to join Queens Park Rangers, which plays in England's second-tier Championship, according to La Provence newspaper.

Midfielder Joshua Guilavogui and former Bordeaux left back Benoit Tremoulinas joined Saint-Etienne on loan from Atletico Madrid and Dynamo Kyiv respectively. Saint-Etienne has an option to buy Tremoulinas for (euro)4 million ($5.4 million) at the end of the season.

Nantes signed striker Itay Shechter on loan from Hapoel Tel Aviv with an option to sign him for two years. The Israel forward scored 33 league goals in 61 games during his Hapoel career.

Dimitar Berbatov (Photo: Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
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