Aulas holds out Essien hope
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Lyon are ready to make Michael Essien one of France's best paid players.Lyon will make Michael Essien one of France's best paid players in an attempt to keep him out of the clutches of Chelsea.
The French champions are desperately trying to ward off Chelsea's interest in the Ghanaian, despite Essien voicing a desire to move to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea are yet to meet Lyon's é¼45 million (£30 million) asking price for Essien, with their most recent bid hitting the é¼32 million (£22 million) mark.
Reports have suggested that Blues chief executive Peter Kenyon has been in France to hold further talks with Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas regarding a deal for Essien.
The midfielder was left out of the Lyon side for Wednesday's Champions Trophy match against Auxerre, as the rumours concerning his future persist.
But while Aulas accepts Essien is hankering after a move to The Premiership, he is not giving up on persuading the 22-year-old to stay at Stade Gerland.
"Michael is in an infernal cycle, he did not want to play," said Aulas, who will accept a Chelsea player as part of the deal.
"We will not loosen our stance until Chelsea make the same offer as they did for Steven Gerrard.
"If they have the money for Gerrard, they have some for Essien, who is younger.
"When you have ambition, you cannot let one of the better players in Europe leave.
"We will talk with his agents to propose him a gilded contract that will make him one of the best paid players in France."
Essien's team-mate Sidney Govou confessed the midfielder is set on a switch to Stamford Bridge and feels it is merely a case of the clubs reaching an agreement.
"We have spoken a lot between us," said Govou. "In his head, he is already over there.
"This is now between him and the president."
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