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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 August 2005, 19:07 GMT 20:07 UK
Lyon deny reports of Essien deal
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich (left) has stepped into the chase for Michael Essien
The saga involving Lyon midfielder Michael Essien took another turn on Wednesday when the French club insisted a transfer had not been agreed.

Chelsea were thought to be on the verge of securing a 27m deal after owner Roman Abramovich held secret talks with Lyon president Jean-Michael Aulas.

But the Lyon website said: "Contrary to reports in the English press, there is no agreement between Chelsea and Lyon."

On Monday, Aulas called off all negotiations over the 22-year-old.

He insisted the Ghanaian would be staying at the French club and Wednesday's statement concluded: "The Lyon president remains committed to that position."

Pictures in The Sun newspaper showed Aulas boarding Abramovich's helicopter on the French Riviera to head for talks on the Russian's luxury cruiser, moored six miles off the coast.

The prolonged transfer saga - which has rumbled on for much of the summer - seemed finished when Lyon set Chelsea a deadline of Sunday night to come up with an acceptable offer.

We are going to make concrete the contract proposition made and accepted by Michael's agent
Jean-Michel Aulas

And on Monday, Aulas announced: "The Essien case is closed and he will remain at Lyon.

"England have won the Olympics but Chelsea will not get Michael Essien.

"They thought we were just country bumpkins with our berets and a baguette in the pocket. That's not the way it works at Lyon."

Aulas even said he thought Essien would sign a new contract at the Stade Gerland once he had got over the fact he would not be joining Chelsea.

"We are going to make concrete the contract proposition made and accepted by his agent, which is very rewarding for the player," said Aulas.

"It comprises not only a major pay rise but also an extension of his contract until 2009.

"I will invite Michael and his agent to come and see me in St Tropez. This business with Chelsea is finished."


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