The rumours have been growing in intensity over the summer, with Monaco's new-found wealth making them one of the most active players in the current transfer window.
Players have arrived for mind-boggling sums, but the team is not yet complete. Who will be the club's final big signing of the summer? Manchester United's Nani has been linked, but it seems that it may well be Zenit's Hulk who is the final piece in the jigsaw. (ESPN)
"Intensive negotiations" are said to have taken place earlier this month and, while news has dried up, it would be no surprise to see the Monegasques return for the Brazilian forward. After all, Hulk is a client of Jorge Mendes' Gestifute agency from whom, at present, most of Monaco's summer signings have originated.
In joining Monaco, Hulk would be reuniting with a number of familiar faces from his time at Porto—not least of which, striker Radamel Falcao, with whom he fired Porto to the 2011 Europa League title.
It will, then, be interesting to see how manager Claudio Ranieri sets up his side in Ligue 1 this season—especially if Hulk should return.
Logic suggests that copying the Porto approach of 2010-11 and playing 4-3-3 is the way forward, with James Rodriguez, Hulk and Falcao all familiar with both the system and each other's games. However, a 4-2-3-1 would also allow the inclusion of another attacking player, such as Argentine Lucas Ocampos.
Falcao would clearly start as the team's lone centre-forward, leaving Rodriguez and Hulk to play in the second line. Rodriguez could either play from the left, in a 4-3-3, or central in a 4-2-3-1. Hulk, meanwhile, would almost certainly play from the right.
It is from the right that the powerful Brazilian is most effective. He has been used as a traditional left-winger and as a striker in the past, but it has been cutting in from the right that his best work has been done.
While the main advantage, when coming in onto his left-foot, is his ability to unleash a shot when the opportunity arises, he is also able to draw the attention of opposition centre-backs and allow Falcao to find space.
It was a plan that worked consistently at Porto with both players benefiting, while Varela on the other flank acted as a more traditional winger supplying balls into the area for the Colombian forward.
With Jeremy Toulalan and Joao Moutinho set to combine in midfield, Monaco should have plenty of the ball as well as an excellent creative player at their disposal in Rodriguez.
If they are to immediately spring to the upper echelons of Ligue 1, though, they will need Falcao and Hulk to rekindle their former relationship. If they can, and both score significant numbers of goals, then PSG may face a fight to retain their Ligue 1 title.
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