English Premier League rivals, Arsenal and Manchester United, will both be ready to strike, after hearing from defender Eric Abidal's agent that the French international is unlikely to sign a new contract with Spanish champions Barcelona.
The 32-year-old defender's current deal will expire at the end of this season and although the club is trying to make the player sign a new contract that will keep him at the Camp Nou longer, Abidal is apparently clear that this is the time for him to move on to challenges outside of Spain.
Barcelona was particularly supportive of the player when he was diagnosed with a tumor in the liver last season. Nevertheless, David Venditelli, the player's agent, indicated that while his client was grateful for everything the club had done for him, still believed that he would take up a better offer if one came along his way.
We want a permanent contract without variables. Not because of economic issues but more to show recognition and confidence in Abidal, the player's agent told COM Radio, Although they have behaved exceptionally with us, we are entitled to have our desires on the new contract.
Venditelli added that both the player and he have a good relationship with Barcelona but a permanent solution was yet to be found. Although a new meeting with the club's board has been scheduled for next month, the Spanish media have suggested that the player's next destination is either France or England.
Premiership giants Arsenal and Manchester United, as well as France's cash-rich Ligue 1 side, PSG have been linked with the player, according to a Metro report.
Eric Sylvain Abidal, who arrived at Barcelona from French club Lyon in 2007 for €9 million, has made 167 appearances for the Catalans thus far.
When Barcelona beat Manchester United 3-1 to win the Champions League Final in 2011, Abidal featured in the whole game. As a gesture to mark the Frenchman's recovery from the surgery on his liver, Abidal's teammates gave him the captain's armband and also allowed him to be the first in the team to raise the trophy in front of the massive crowd at the Wembley Stadium.