Lyon remain confident that their Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien will stay at the club and would like Michael Owen to join, club president Jean-Michel Aulas has revealed.

“It is more likely than not that Michael Essien will stay with us this season,” Aulas said.

“We have set conditions for his departure and so far those conditions have not been accepted,” he said.

“Besides, Chelsea no longer seem really interested.”

Aulas said Lyon were still hoping to sign a top striker and hinted it might be England’s Owen, who seems likely to leave Real Madrid.

“I would be very happy if Owen could join us,” he said. “The question is whether the club can afford such a player. I think Lyon can.”

Lyon have been resisting intense pressure from Chelsea over Essien for weeks and have informed the English champins that they will not sell for less than £32m.