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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 June, 2005, 10:52 GMT 11:52 UK
Essien sets sights on Premiership
By Andrew McKenzie

Michael Essien in action for Lyon
Michael Essien's agent has admitted that the player is keen on a switch to the Premiership but fears Lyon's asking price could scupper any potential move.

The French champions have so far resisted Chelsea's bid to sign the 22-year-old Ghana midfielder.

Fabien Piveteau told BBC Sport: "The problem is that Chelsea want him but, for now, the bid is too small for Lyon.

"If possible he would prefer to come to England. He speaks English, he likes English football."

Essien has so far declined to sign a contract extension but Lyon are determined not to let him go without a fight.

"Lyon want big, big money for the player," added Piveteau. "The problem for Chelsea is when they arrive for discussions with another club the price is doubled."

Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal would interest him
Essien's agent Fabien Piveteau

Piveteau said Essien would consider a move elsewhere in England but feels the transfer fee is likely to put most clubs off.

He added: "Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal would interest him.

"I know the Arsenal coach likes him very well but, for now, there have been no discussions.

"At Manchester I had discussions with their coach two months ago but after that there has been no news.

"For Liverpool there could be a solution because Lyon want Milan Baros and it may be possible to organise for Baros to go to Lyon and Michael to go to Liverpool - and the same for Chelsea with Didier Drogba."

Lyon dismissed a proposed swap deal involving Drogba on Monday.

Their president Jean-Michel Aulas told sports newspaper l'Equipe: "If chief executive Peter Kenyon proposes a deal because Chelsea have signed Eto'o or Adriano, I would listen.

"But I don't believe in Father Christmas."

Last season Ghana international Essien was voted Player of the Year by France's National Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP).

Meanwhile, Aulas has also confirmed their interested in Bordeaux's Marouane Chamakh and Baros.

"We have already made one, big offer for Chamakh. We want him, he's our priority," he said.

"We're waiting to hear from Baros and I plan to go to Prague to see him this week with coach Gerard Houllier."





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