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18.07.2005 Sports News

Essien Sulks...

sky

Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas admits Michael Essien is sulking as the French champions plan fresh talks with Chelsea.

Essien is desperate to secure a move to Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea having failed with a latest bid of €30 million (£20.7 million) for the midfielder.

The Ghana international is currently on Lyon's pre-season tour of Asia but his presence on the trip is having a negative effect on the squad.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is waiting for the two clubs to reach an agreement with reports in France claiming an offer of €35 million (£24 million) will finally tempt Lyon.

But Lyon supremo Aulas is holding out for £30 million as he rates Essien in the same bracket as Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.

Aulas is waiting to conduct further negotiations with Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon and concedes the protracted saga has left Essien at a low ebb.

"The negotiations are not stopped," Aulas told L'Equipe.

"Michael is sulking. It hurts to see that as usually he is smiling and so cheerful. He is really sad but the whole group is penalised by that situation.

"Chelsea did everything to push him to say he will not go to Korea but I perfectly respected what he wanted.

"He is still under contract with us for three more years. With him we have more chances to win a fifth consecutive national title.

"But if he would have to leave, it could not be at an inferior sum than for the best players in his position in the world.

"Chelsea had accepted the asking price of Liverpool for Steven Gerrard. I said to Chelsea he will only leave at Gerrard's price. Chelsea has refused so far.

"I am keen to keep him for one more year to transfer him next season at a very inferior price."

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