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19.08.2005 Football News

I am not worth £24.4m -Essien

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Chelsea-bound Michael Essien has said he does not believe he is worth the fee Chelsea have paid to buy him from Lyon.

"I know what I'm worth as a footballer and it's clear that I'm not worth 38 million euros (25.8 million pounds) but that's football business," he told French magazine France Football.

"As soon as Chelsea expressed interest, I wanted to go," added Essien.

Lyon's hand was forced when the Ghana international refused to sign a new deal with the French champions and then refused to play for them.

"It was impossible for me to stay (at Lyon)," he said.

"I can perfectly understand (Lyon president) Jean-Michel Aulas. He defended his club's interests but I defended mine.

"I'm very excited to be joining Chelsea. It's a dream come true."

Chelsea pursued Essien all summer, and had bids of £10m, £16.75m, £18m, £21m and £21m plus Tiago turned down.

But the midfielder will now become the Blues' record signing, exceeding the £24m they paid Marseille for Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba last summer.

Essien was due to make his first appearance of the new season in London on Wednesday, when Ghana played a friendly against Senegal at Brentford.

But although he attended the game, he did not play, to the displeasure of Ghana coach Ratomir Dujkovic.

However, Essien is hopeful he may make his Premiership bow on Sunday against Arsenal.

"Maybe I'll play a few minutes," he said.