Lyon open to Essien deal
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Lyon may meet Chelsea on Tuesday for further talks regarding Michael Essien.Lyon will meet with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich on Tuesday, if the Premiership champions make a bid of £31 million for Michael Essien.
Chelsea's pursuit of the Ghana international appeared to be dead on Sunday when they failed to meet Lyon's deadline to lodge a suitable offer for Essien.
The French champions' chairman Jean-Michel Aulas was keen to end all negotiations with The Blues regarding the 22-year-old after rejecting several bids for the African.
But Aulas is now ready to give Chelsea an extra couple of days to meet his asking price for Essien, who has also been linked with Arsenal and Manchester United.
Speaking after Lyon's win over Strasbourg on Sunday, Aulas was initially reticent to hold more discussions with The Blues but has now been persuaded to think again.
"It's been a difficult week," Aulas told the club's official website. "This evening, Michael is still a Lyon player.
"Chelsea seem to be forcing the issue but they are not doing what they need to.
"Ten minutes ago I would have told you that the deal was blocked and that Peter Kenyon should return to London. Then the phone rang just now to suggest I meet Roman Abramovich on Tuesday.
"I am in two minds.
"If I get a fax during the night with the price I have asked for exactly to the nearest centime then we will have a meeting."
Prior to that statement, Aulas had made a pledge to keep Essien at Stade Gerland, despite the player voicing an unequivocal desire to move to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea's phone call has drawn out the saga for a few more days as they struggle to finalise the deal before the start of the new Premiership season.
Essien has not played for Lyon this term due to the situation but the key to the deal could prove to be his team-mate Mahamadou Diarra.
Diarra suffered a knee injury against Strasbourg and, if tests on Monday show it to be serious, Lyon are ready to block Essien's exit.