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04.08.2005 Sports News

Lyon supremo slams Chelsea over Essien pursuit

Lyon chairman Jean Michel Aulas has taken another swipe at Chelsea over their pursuit of midfielder Mickael Essien.

He rapped to "For the moment there is no meeting.

"What's more I never wanted a meeting.

"I agreed, obliged to and forced to, to answer questions but at the moment events do not allow us to meet and things are dead.

"Michael is considered by Gerard (Houllier) as better than Steven Gerrard when he was younger.

"We are not the ones dictating the price but the people who have the means to are," he added.

"There has been a discussion with Chelsea that has started."

Aulas, who has previously stated he will accept no less than £30 million for the Ghanaian, had little sympathy with Essien's claims of unhappiness at the prospect of another season in Ligue 1.

He said: "There are many worse things in life - accidents, sick people, unemployed people - and we are making a drama of someone who has excellent working conditions.

"Someone who has a choice of three clubs, including one with whom he has already won a lot.

"Michael has so much talent, youth and a free spirit that makes it wrong for him to imply that he is deeply unhappy," he added.

"Many people have many more reasons to be unhappy. Everyone has a role to play."

Aulas pointed the finger of blame at the English champions for the slow speed of transfer proceedings.

"I am not worried for the player nor for the people who have caused all this palaver and I don't think Chelsea have done all they can to wrap things up," said Aulas.

"Having said that there is a possibility he could go but it does not depend on us.

"There is a Chinese proverb that says when business drags on, it's like fish - it stinks," he added.

"I know the team is stronger with Michael in it than without him. Without wishing to insult the players who may join us during August the team is weaker without Michael.

"We are giving ourselves time without having a knife put to our throats."