SPORTS

Monaco wants to pick up pair of AEK stars

France’s Monaco soccer club is highly interested in acquiring star striker Demis Nikolaidis and midfielder Akis Zikos of first division AEK Athens, media reports said yesterday. The newspaper SporTime said that Monaco’s technical director, Henri Biancheri, scouted the players in AEK’s 3-2 home loss to Olympiakos Piraeus Sunday and appeared «very satisfied.» Biancheri and Monaco’s manager, Didier Deschamps, plan to see them in AEK’s UEFA Cup game in Milan against Inter in February, the daily said. The newspaper said Nikolaidis’s transfer could be more difficult than that of his teammate. Zikos’s four-year contract expires in June, but Nikolaidis’s runs until mid-2004. Nikolaidis, 29, is an idol of AEK fans and has repeatedly said he does not plan to leave the team. With Sunday’s victory, Olympiakos moved to the top of the 14-team first division standings with 28 points, one ahead of AEK. (AP)