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Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has asked to meet representatives from Lyon in an attempt to resolve the Michael Essien saga.

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas said he had turned down a new Chelsea offer for the 22-year-old.

But within minutes Aulas revealed: “The phone rang just now to suggest I meet Roman Abramovich on Tuesday. I am in two minds.”

Chelsea had seen bids of £10m, £16.75m, £18m and £21m turned down for the Ghana midfielder before the latest offer, reported to be £21m plus Portuguese international Tiago, was rejected.

The longest running transfer story of the summer took several fresh twists on Sunday.

Initially, Aulas said: “We have rejected their last offer and we are closing the door – it’s great news for the club.

“This is not Michael’s choice but mine and I accept responsibility for it.

“I have said since the start – and if you did not believe me you are wrong – that we need our best players for the French championship.

“I know that Essien will be a European player of the year one day. I have the pleasure of telling you he will indeed play for Lyon this season.

“It’s a certainty (that Essien is staying) because things have not been done respectfully.

“The club should be respected. Maybe Chelsea did not think there would be such resistance.”

However, within 10 minutes Aulas said: “If I get a fax with the price I have asked for, then we’ll meet.

“It’s been a difficult week. This evening (Sunday), 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.”

But then he confirmed receiving a phone call from Abramovich’s and amidtted a deal could still be struck.

“If they accept it he comes to Chelsea. If they do not he is staying with Lyon. It’s simple.”

Meanwhile, Lyon coach Gerard Houllier, said he was not going to select Essien until the situation had been resolved.

“If Michael must go, we will lose a great player, let me make that clear, even if great teams have to deal with situations like that,” said Essien.

“There are only five or six players in Europe like Michael: (Steven) Gerrard, (Frank) Lampard, (Patrick) Vieira, (Michael) Ballack and (Roy) Keane.”

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