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15.06.2005 Sports News

Essien is a step closer to Chelsea

Raymond Yeboah([email protected])

Olympique Lyon midfielder Mickael Essien is a step closer to a move to Chelsea. Lyon are ready to sell the Ghana international and hope to make a killing in an open auction.

Essien's fee could go as high as £20 million with Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid among clubs battling for his services.

Chelsea are in the box-seat, however Lyon are insisting they include striker Didier Drogba in their bid.

''Before he left for Ghana, Michael Essien confirmed to me that he was not against staying an additional year at Lyon,'' Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas told L'Equipe.

''He just wants the conditions of his departure to be set for next season.

''It is true Chelsea and his agent are not against a departure. I said Essien will stay, as I did for Mahmadou Diarra.

''Usually when I say players will stay, they stay. We will try to improve, adding three or four internationals.

''If Peter Kenyon calls me to propose Didier Drogba because Chelsea have hired Eto'o or Adriano, I will listen to him.

''However, I don't believe in Santa Claus anymore.''

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