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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 July, 2005, 19:01 GMT 20:01 UK
Unwell Essien out of Lyon squad
Michael Essien
Essien has won two French titles with Lyon
Chelsea target Michael Essien has dropped out of the Lyon squad for their opening Ligue 1 game against Le Mans on Sunday with a stomach complaint.

A statement on the French champions' website said the 22-year-old had lost 2kg in weight because of his condition.

Lyon coach Gerard Houllier said he was unsure when Essien would return.

The club are believed to have rejected a Chelsea bid in excess of 21m for Essien, and are holding out for 32m fee as well as a player in exchange.

Essien did not feature in Wednesday's 4-1 victory over Auxerre in the Trophy of Champions..

The midfielder has said he wants to join Chelsea and is "convinced" it will happen.

Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas and Blues owner Roman Abramovich are due to meet in France next week to discuss Essien.

Essien has been a revelation for the French champions since signing from Bastia two years ago, helping them win two Ligue 1 titles.

Lyon have won the Ligue 1 championship for the last four years.


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