Real Madrid general manager Arrigo Sacchi is stepping up his pursuit of Olympique Lyon midfielder Mickael Essien.
The Ghana international's agent confirmed over the weekend that Chelsea and Real were chasing the midfielder, who has been a revelation for Lyon this season. Sacchi has made Essien his No1 midfield target for the summer market after cooling his interest in Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.
While Chelsea are favourites for Essien, Real still have a trump card in England captain David Beckham. The young African is a big fan of Beckham's and would love to play alongside the former Manchester United midfielder.
Sacchi has assured Essien's representatives that he would be guaranteed regular first team football at Real, whereas if he joins Chelsea he will be competing with Frank Lampard, Tiago and Claude Makelele for a place in Jose Mourinho's midfield.