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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 May, 2005, 10:33 GMT 11:33 UK
Lyon turn down Chelsea Essien bid
Michael Essien in action for Lyon
French champions Lyon have rejected a bid from Chelsea for 22-year-old midfielder Michael Essien.

President Jean-Michel Aulas insisted Sidney Govou will be the only player to leave the French club this summer despite Chelsea's interest in Essien.

"Only one player will go, I repeat it. Chelsea came up with an offer (for Essien) and left with nothing", Aulas told French newspaper L'Equipe.

"I am ready to renegotiate existing contracts but nothing else."

Ghana international Essien had been linked with numerous clubs throughout the season, including Arsenal and Manchester United as well as Chelsea.

Essien's agent, Fabien Piveteau, claimed several top European clubs want to sign the midfielder.

"I know that Juventus are interested in Michael," Piveteau said.

"I've not, however, had any direct contact with them yet, which is not the case with Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Arsenal."

Lyon clinched the French league title for the fourth successive season last weekend.

But coach Paul Le Guen left as coach on Monday, prompting speculation several major players would follow him out of the club.

Aulas has moved quickly to insist the nucleus of the team will remain in place.

"Sidney Govou said he wanted to leave. After what he has done for the club, he has the right to go, but that will be all," added Aulas.

"We have the best players in Europe in the midfield with Mahamadou Diarra, Michael Essien, Juninho."

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