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02.08.2005 Sports News

Aulas urges Essien compromise

Raymond Yeboah

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas admits the French champions may lose Michael Essien to Chelsea - but claims the London club must compromise for any deal to be struck.

Last week Aulas insisted he would settle for no less than 45 million euros (£31million) for the 22-year-old Ghanaian midfielder.

Speaking to the website after Lyon began their Ligue 1 title defence with a 2-1 win over Le Mans, Aulas appeared to admit a deal was likely - but only under certain conditions.

Aulas said: "Mike Essien? It's annoying to lose one of the best players in Europe but he has not gone yet.

"We could find a compromise to ensure he does not move until next year. Chelsea will have to be very persuasive for us to allow him to leave.

"Manchester (United) are after him as well."

Meanwhile, Aulas made it clear he is prepared to give Lyon boss Gerard Houllier more money to spend in the transfer market.

"As far as recruiting is concerned if Gerard needs reinforcements we will do what is necessary over the next period of the transfer window."