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Nonda near to Lyon switch

The leading scorer in France last season, AS Monaco FC's Shabani Nonda, is set to join Olympique Lyonnais.

Close championship
Nonda struck 26 goals for the principality club in 2002/03, a tally enough to win him the French golden boot but not sufficient to prevent Lyon pipping Monaco to the Ligue 1 crown by a point. Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas said the 26-year-old arrived in Lyon on Sunday evening. "He's having a medical examination this morning and we will sign the contract after."

'Logical to help'
Aulas added: "Monaco have helped several clubs in the past by buying their players, it's logical to help them when they're in trouble." Monaco have debts estimated at between €53m and €87m and were last month demoted to the second division by the French Professional League (LFP) because of their precarious financial position.

Wednesday hearing
Monaco have appealed against the decision and their case will be heard on Wednesday. They hope to give guarantees about their finances and, according to French daily L'Equipe, Monaco would need around €25m to avoid relegation. Participation in the Champions League will raise crucial revenue, and the shortfall is likely to be made up by selling players.

'Best in Europe'
Born in Burundi but an international player for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nonda was Monaco's most-saleable asset. He was bought from Stade Rennais FC in 2000 having previously played for FC Zürich. "Our coach, Paul Le Guen, considers [Nonda] to be the best forward in Europe," said Aulas, who is relishing pairing him with Sidney Govou.

Biggest transfer
Nonda's agent, John Dario, said: "It is true that Shabani is on president Aulas's list but for the moment there is nothing." However, the transfer, expected to be the biggest between French clubs this season, should still be completed later today.