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12.07.2005 Sports News

Essien staying at Lyon for now

Raymond Yeboah([email protected])

LYON, France, July 12 - Olympique Lyon midfielder Michael Essien appears set to stay with the club for now after talks between the French champions and Chelsea on Tuesday.

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon met president Jean-Michel Aulas and manager Gerard Houllier after which a Lyon spokesman said: "The position of both clubs has not changed".

Ghana international Essien is keen to join Chelsea but Aulas does not want to sell.

Earlier, Aulas told reporters that he had received a lucrative offer from the English champions but was hoping he could convince Essien to stay in France.

"It's difficult to resist but Michael is not for sale," Aulas said.

"We will do everything to keep him."

Essien said he wanted a move to the Premier League.

"I want to leave," the player was quoted as saying by French sports daily L'Equipe. "I want to play in England at Chelsea."

Reports in the British media said Essien would be in London for a medical on Tuesday but reporters spotted him in Lyon.

Lyon are due to leave for South Korea on Wednesday to play in the Peace Cup tournament.

Essien told L'Equipe he would not go but Aulas said the player would travel with the team.

"He will come with us and I'll take him to the plane," Aulas said. Manager Houllier added: "He will come with us to Korea." Mourinho says he's happy to start season without Essien LONDON (AP) - Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said Tuesday he'd be happy for his squad to start the defense of its Premier League title without the acquisition of Ghana midfielder Michael Essien.

Essien has been linked with a move to Chelsea since the Premier League season ended in May, and he told French sports daily L'Equipe he was "dreaming'' of a move to the west London club.

"I am happy with what I have. I don't need more,'' Mourinho said. "I have a good balance and all the positions are covered.''

Argentina international Hernan Crespo is likely to join Carlton Cole at Chelsea after both strikers spent last season away on loan.

Mourinho said the additions mean he can use other attacking players in deeper roles that Essien would otherwise fill. Eidur Gudjohnsen or Joe Cole can both play in withdrawn midfield positions.

"If, before the end of the month, we can get an extra player I will be pleased, but if we don't have, we don't have,'' Mourinho said.

Cole is back after a season each at Charlton and Aston Villa, while Crespo is mulling over a return from AC Milan, where he spent last year after failing to settle in his sole season at Chelsea.

Speaking at a press conference unveiling the club's latest signing, Spain leftback Asier del Horno, Mourinho said that although Cole "has the potential ... I prefer to have Crespo.''

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