Essien left out for Sunday
By Simon Fudge
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Lyon boss Gerard Houllier has left Michael Essien out of their match with Strasbourg.Lyon manager Gerard Houllier has decided to leave Chelsea target Michael Essien out of Sunday's match against Strasbourg.
The Ghanaian international has been the subject of a long-standing transfer saga this summer, with the 22-year-old having expressed a desire to move to the Premiership champions.
The former Bastia midfielder even insisted on Friday that he would go on strike from working with the first team unless his wish to move to Stamford Bridge was granted by the Ligue 1 champions.
Houllier has denied that the African star is on strike but stated he was being left out of Sunday's match because he was not in the right frame of mind to play.
"Michael has a good attitude," the former Liverpool manager told the club's official website.
"Maybe he's on a hunger strike, as I've read in the press, but he's not on strike when it comes to training.
"I am not selecting him because his mind is not set on football.
"I believe that he is not ready to play a match and will not be for as long has his case is not settled.
"If Michael were to leave us, we would lose a great player. There are five or six players in Europe in his class."
Both clubs have so far struggled to agree a fee for Essien, with the French side seemingly interested in an as yet unnamed Chelsea player as a possible makeweight in a proposed deal.
Reports have suggested that Portuguese midfielder Tiago is the player in question, with Houllier expressing his interest in the former Benfica man.
"Tiago is a player that I know and I'm interested in," added Houllier.