Lyon keen on Heinze

Lyon may join Liverpool in the race to sign Gabriel Heinze as they try to come to terms with the loss of captain Cris for six months.

Lyon may join Liverpool in the race to sign Gabriel Heinze as they try to come to terms with the loss of captain Cris for six months.

The Brazilian centre-back was carried off on a stretcher during Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Toulouse after a clash with Les Violets striker Johan Elmander.

An MRI scan on Monday confirmed the defender has ruptured two ligaments in his right knee, and he has been ruled out until well into the new year.

The likes of Paris St Germain’s Mario Yepes and Jean-Alain Boumsong, of Juventus, have been linked with the French champions as a replacement for Cris.

But Manchester United defender Heinze looks to be Lyon coach Alain Perrin’s ideal choice.

“He has the profile,” the former Sochaux boss said of the Argentina international, who can play at left-back or centre-half.

“It is necessary to know if the player, who has spent a large part of his career at left-back, really wants to play regularly at centre-back.”

Heinze is currently involved in a dispute with United, who are refusing to allow the player to move to fellow north-west club Liverpool.

The 29-year-old claims he has a letter from United allowing him to leave Old Trafford for a fee the Merseysiders claim to have met, but the club insist he will not be sold to a close rival.

Heinze is taking the issue to a Premier League arbitration panel on 20 August.

He has played in Ligue 1 before, with Paris St Germain, prior to his departure to Old Trafford in 2004.

Yepes has also been linked with Lyon after Cris’ unfortunate setback, and Perrin added in L’Equipe: “He has effectively been proposed to us.”

The Cris injury comes hot on the heels of the knee problem sustained by Gregory Coupet in training a week and a half ago, with the France goalkeeper expected to be out until the December or even the new year.

Fred, Lyon’s chief striker, is also on the sidelines with a broken foot suffered while on international duty with Brazil this summer.

“This long unavailability for our captain adds to those of Coupet and also that of Fred, who are three important players in our team,” said Perrin.

“Life must continue. It is our job as coaches to carry on. But it is also our job to look for and find the best possible replacement for Cris.

“The problem, it is that at this time of year, there will not be a lot of players willing to come and join us.”

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